The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified a Des Moines couple who were fatally shot in an apparent domestic-violence altercation inside their residence March 5.
Etenesh Kebede, 54, and Hagos Berihun, 62, both died from multiple gunshot wounds and their deaths were ruled homicides, according to the medical examiner.
Des Moines police arrested the couple’s 26-year-old son and a judge found probable cause to hold him on investigation of homicide but he was conditionally released from the King County Jail on Wednesday without criminal charges filed against him, according to jail records and a spokesperson for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. The police investigation is ongoing.
The 26-year-old, who called 911, told arriving police officers that his father had shot his mother, according to the probable cause statement outlining the police case against him. The statement doesn’t explicitly accuse the son of shooting his father but notes Berihun had at least one gunshot wound to his back. The son suffered a gunshot wound to his hand, the statement says.
When police arrived at the family’s residence in the 24000 block of 25th Avenue South just before 9:30 p.m. March 5, the son opened the door and officers noted he had blood on his clothes and hands; he directed officers to the family room where his parents were, according to the probable cause statement. Medics attempted lifesaving efforts but Kebede and Berihun died at the scene.
The mother, father and son were the only people in the house during the shootings, says the statement. Property records show Kebede and Berihun bought their three-bedroom house just south of the Highline College campus in 2003.
Robert Flennaugh, a Seattle criminal defense attorney who is representing the 26-year-old, did not return a phone message left for him Friday.
Kebede grew up in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia and escaped the country’s civil war, living in a Sudanese refugee camp with her daughter before arriving in the Seattle area in 1993, her daughter wrote in a GoFundMe post, which refers to Berihun as Kebede’s estranged husband.
“Etenesh had a graceful spirit and a smile so contagious that she brightened every room she entered. She was widely revered as being charismatic and could make strangers feel welcome,” says the post written by her daughter, 29. “An incredibly kind and caring woman, Etenesh exemplified beauty and strength. She dedicated her life to God, her family, and her community.”
In addition to her son and daughter, Kebede is survived by her 19-year-old son, her stepson, her mother and three brothers, says the GoFundMe campaign.