An Ethiopian “refugee” imported to America from Kenya in 2011 shot up his place of work Tuesday, killing a beloved Army Veteran and injuring three others before turning the gun on himself.
Getachew Fekede, 53, a former employee at FreightCar America, shot three workers — one fatally — and grazed a fourth before killing himself, Roanoke police have said.
All of the victims were found close to each other, police said. Daniel Wesley Brown, 56, of Montvale, died at the scene. Keith Dwayne Law, 31, of Rocky Mount and Gary David Koran, 32, of Roanoke remain hospitalized at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where they were listed in fair condition as of Wednesday morning, according to a hospital spokesman.
Valderrama, 31, of Catawba was released from the hospital Tuesday. He’s a welder at FreightCar America, where he’s worked for three and a half years.
Brown, who was from New York, was a 14-year U.S. Army veteran who served as an engineer during Desert Storm in a non-combat role, said his girlfriend, Vickie Hawkins. He worked at FreightCar America for eight years, most recently as a fitter. She said he knew who Fekede was but never talked about him.
“He liked his job,” she said. “He liked the people he worked with. From what I gather, he didn’t seem to have any issues with anybody there.”
Employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions from the company, said they were shocked that anyone would hurt Brown. One man who worked at FreightCar America with Brown said he said “had a really good heart.”
“Daniel always had a lot to say and he was never shy about telling you how he felt or what he thought, even if it wasn’t complimentary,” the man said.
Another employee said he couldn’t imagine that someone would want to target Brown.
“It had to be a stray bullet, because there’s no way anyone could have ill will towards him,” he said.
Police are still investigating whether Fekede targeted the victims and are determining a possible motive for the shooting, although Jones said it was likely work-related. Information about where Fekede got the gun has not been released by police, who said he fired 10 rounds from a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun.
Fekede’s neighbors at Brandon Manor Apartments near Towers Shopping Center have described him as friendly and generous and said he was often working. A few neighbors noted that he spoke about another employee “messing with him,” a problem that he said he’d raised with the human resources department at the company.
…Fekede came to Roanoke in 2011 through a refugee program, police have said. Hannah Whitt, a 23-year-old Roanoke resident, said she helped resettle him while interning with Commonwealth Catholic Charities. The agency has not responded to requests for comment about whether it had contact with Fekede.
Whitt said Fekede lived in a house on Moorman Avenue with three other men. They were from Ethiopia but had been staying in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, she said. None of the men had family in the U.S. when they moved to Roanoke, Whitt said.
We gave this “refugee” asylum and a job in our country and this is how he repays us.
Hillary Clinton wants to bring in hundreds of thousands more just like him.
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