Ethiopian man shot and killed on New Year’s Day

Shooting victim Melake Selam Worku

Friends say mom despondent after son gunned down New Year’s Day

While homicide detectives in Calgary hunt for the person who gunned down Melake Selam Worku on New Year’s Day, family and friends in Toronto are coping with the shocking loss.

Yodit Gebremedhin ­— who is from Ethiopia where the slain man’s family is said to be from — said relatives of the 27-year-old flew to Calgary to try and get answers in the young man’s death.

“I don’t think his mom will survive,” she said Tuesday.

“She cries 24 hours a day.”

Worku was found critically injured, lying on the pavement at the intersection of 3 Ave. and 3 St. S.W. about 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

He died of gunshot wounds, becoming the city’s first homicide of 2011. Another man, who police said was an innocent bystander, was found shot in a car a half-block away. He was not seriously injured.

Police have charged Godwin Mawutor Bonney, 22, of Etobicoke, Ont., with attempted murder in the shooting of the bystander.

But as of Tuesday, they were still investigating and asking for the public’s help to find a suspect — a black man, 20 to 30 years old, 5-foot-8 to 6-feet tall with cornrows.

Shooting victim Melake Selam Worku
Shooting victim Melake Selam Worku

Worku’s sister was said to be travelling from Ontario to meet with Calgary police.

“He comes from a very, very respectable family,” Gebremedhin said from Toronto.

“We don’t know what happened. We don’t know anything … nobody would expect that disaster to happen.”

This latest fatal gunplay, and a string of innocents caught in the middle, shows the justice system needs to do tougher targeting of its own, says law-and-order advocate and former MP Art Hanger.

“Human rights are favouring those committing the offence and the human rights of the victims are being violated,” said Hanger.

Hanger said there is a simple way to reduce wild west-style gunplay in city streets.

“If the politicians want to clean this up, they have to give more authority to police and back them up,” said the former police officer.

Family Believes Killer will be found

Although racked by grief, the family of a Calgary man shot on New Year’s Day is optimistic police will find his killer.

Melake Selam Worku, 27, died after someone opened fire near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street S.W. — an area crowded with New Year’s revellers when the shooting began shortly after 1 a.m.

Worku’s killer was able to escape a police dragnet that descended on the area, but the victim’s sister said her family believes his freedom will be short-lived.

“I have full confidence they will bring justice for my brother,” Adey Worku said from Toronto, where the family is preparing for his funeral Saturday. Adey said her brother was in Alberta for five years, and mainly worked in construction and contracting jobs.

“He was part of a big family that was filled with love and affection and we’re just devastated by this,” she said.

Worku and his two older sisters were born in Ethiopia, but the family came to Canada as a child, settling first in Montreal. Worku grew up mainly in Toronto — though he spent his high school years attending a private school in Ethiopia before returning to his adopted hometown, Adey said.

Investigators haven’t determined a motive for the killing, which happened after Worku and a friend left a club.

An innocent man, wounded in an exchange of gunfire after Worku was shot, remains in hospital.

Worku’s companion, Godwin Mawutor Bonney, 22, of Toronto has been charged with attempted murder in connection with the incident.

The risk to bystanders prompted Calgary’s police chief to call for greater powers of search and seizure as a way of getting illegal and restricted firearms off the streets.

“What concerns me more is the proliferation of handguns,” Chief Rick Hanson said.

“If we don’t start getting some enhanced search and seizure laws for the police so we can get the proliferation of handguns off the street and illegal weapons, then unfortunately this is the destiny of Canada,” Hanson said, referring to a shooting spree on a Vancouver street last month that injured 10 people.

Source: Calgary Sun & Calgary herald

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