August 22, 2009

Amanuel Gebrengus Atsemet and Aklilu Fessehage Kidane Terrorize Citizens with AK-47 in Seattle

Two men in custody after violent spree

Police say one victim had gun put in his mouth, gasoline poured on him

Two men are in custody after police say they terrorized at least two victims, putting a gun inside one man's mouth, pouring gasoline on him and threatening to set him on fire.

The attacks - which involved a semi-automatic handgun and an AK-47 assault rifle - were the result of a drug deal gone bad, Sioux Falls police said in a news release Friday. The suspects were to have received $18,000 for marijuana sales but never were paid, police said.

Now, police think there are more victims and are hoping to hear from them, or anyone else who has information.

"These victims had guns put to their heads, and they threatened to kill them and their families if they did not receive their money," Lt. Bruce Bailey said in the release.

The suspects were identified as Amanuel Gebrengus Atsemet, 21, of Sioux Falls and Aklilu Fessehage Kidane, also 21, of Seattle.

Both men face two counts of aggravated assault, one count of second-degree aggravated kidnapping and one count of first-degree robbery for Wednesday's crime spree.

They were arraigned on the charges Thursday, and are being held on a $500,000 bond. Their next court hearing is set for Sept. 4, according to court records.

The case began when the suspects gave an unidentified man 15 pounds of marijuana to sell, and the drugs changed hands multiple times as the man enlisted the help of other adults and juveniles to help sell it, police said.

But the suspects never were paid their $18,000, so they began tracking down every person involved in the drug sales, police said.

After one victim was pistol-whipped and had gas poured on him, he was forced into the trunk of a car and driven to several ATM machines in the Sioux Falls area to get money for the suspects, police said. That victim, a 21-year-old man, eventually was released near Madison Street and Sycamore Avenue. Police found both suspects a few hours later in the 1600 block of Rock Creek Drive, where they were apprehended.

It's not clear from the police statement where the crimes took place. However, police said they began investigating after responding to a call of a disorderly person in the 2600 block of South Judy Avenue, near Morningside Park, at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Shawn Thennis said he saw a couple of police officers drive up Judy Avenue and stop at a nearby house the night of the incident.

"They took one kid with them, but not in cuffs or anything," he said.


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