Couple who ran Ethiopian restaurant shot to death in front of their Lower Greenville home

A couple who spent long hours working at their Ethiopian restaurant was followed during a midnight thunderstorm to their Lower Greenville home and shot dead on their front porch.

Yayehyirad “Yared” Lemma, 40, and Yenenesh “Yenni” Desta, 31, were attacked early Wednesday after they drove to their home on Marquita Avenue. They’d just closed for the night at Desta, the restaurant they ran on Greenville Avenue near Forest Lane.

Yayehyirad “Yared” Lemma, 40, and Yenenesh “Yenni” Desta, 31.

Dallas detectives are trying to determine a motive and had identified no suspects. The slayings happened quickly, they say, and the shooter was gone within minutes.

Lemma’s mother was in the home at the time, baby-sitting the couple’s 18-month-old child, neighbor Francisco Espinaco said. Neither was hurt, but the mother emerged screaming from the home moments after the shooting.

“I heard her say, ‘My son, my son!’” said Margie Marshall, who lives with Espinaco. “I have a son, so I had to go help her.”

Shortly after midnight, police received multiple reports of gunshots in the Lower Greenville area. They arrived at the home just across the street from the San Francisco Rose bar to find the couple dead on the porch.

Marshall and Espinaco, who live in a ground-floor apartment across the street, were awake at the time of the shooting. Espinaco described hearing two shots, dismissed as thunder by Marshall. Two more shots followed, prompting the couple to call 911.

They remained indoors until they heard Lemma’s mother screaming. Marshall consoled her and kept her away from investigators as other family members arrived during the night. A cousin led a prayer group in the middle of the street as rain poured down.

The rain was too heavy for witnesses to see much of what happened just before the shooting, but surveillance cameras at the San Francisco Rose caught another car stopping behind Desta’s Mercedes-Benz as the couple pulled up to the house. After the shooting, witnesses believe the vehicle — described as a dark SUV — fled with its lights off.

On Wednesday afternoon, hundreds gathered at St. Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, where the couple attended services. Women wept in a dining hall while chants were sung for the victims in the adjoining sanctuary.

Anteneh Woubishet placed flowers in front of the Ethiopian restaurant Desta on Wednesday in memory of the slain owners.

Anteneh Woubishet placed flowers in front of the Ethiopian restaurant Desta on Wednesday in memory of the slain owners.

Abebe Negatu, who supplies bread for the restaurant, said the deaths hit everyone in the Ethiopian community.

“We have a small community,” he said, “so we grieve together.”

In online forums, fans of the restaurant mourned the loss and raved about the food and the owners’ hospitality at one of the city’s few Ethiopian restaurants, opened in 2010.

Friend Teddy Tadesse described Lemma as quiet and shy.

“Not what you would think for someone who runs a restaurant,” he said.

Lemma and Desta’s restaurant, which shares her name and means “happiness,” was closed Wednesday.

Staff writer Andrew Pantazi contributed to this report.

Source: Dallas News

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Other News

An Ethiopian restaurant owner and his wife were found shot to death early this morning on the front porch of their home in Dallas, Texas .

Yayehyirad Lemma, 40, and Yenenesh Desta, 31, were attacked just after midnight when they returned to their Marquita Avenue home from a 16-hour shift at Desta, an Ethiopian restaurant Lemma owns on Greenville Avenue near Forest Lane.

The couple have an 18-month-old child, who was not hurt. It’s unclear whether the child was at home at the time of the shooting.
About midnight, police received multiple reports of shots fired in the Lower Greenvile area, just across the street from the San Francisco Rose. They arrived to find the man and woman dead.

Dallas police are trying to determine a motive, as it remains unclear whether this was a robbery or something else.

At least one investigator remained at the scene this morning, but Detective Michael Yeric said there’s not much to add, only that it all happened fast. A shooter (or shooters) simply walked up and started firing, then fled.

Neighbor Bell Velis, 81, didn’t know the couple but has lived on that block of Marquita for 48 years, and this is the first bloodshed he can recall there. He said his wife heard two gunshots and he saw the police activity soon after.

Jacob Hilton, who also lives nearby, said the neighborhood is typically quiet, but gets a lot of traffic.

“I’ve never really seen anyone suspicious.”

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Posted by on August 16, 2012. Filed under NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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