Local family wants answers in Ethiopia shooting

A Santa Clara family wants answers after their 20-year-old son was shot and killed during a trip to Ethiopia.

January 22, 2011 12:50:43 AM PST
A South Bay family is grieving and say their son was murdered by a police officer in Ethiopia. Arefany Wynn, 20, was there seeing relatives. Now, the family wants the U.S. government to help them receive justice.

A steady flow of visitors try to console a family that's experienced so much loss.

"He was a good kid to me," says Arefany's mother, Sarah Belay.

Arefany died January 9. The 20 year old loved his family and sports and Ethiopia -- his mother's native country. He left for Africa, January 1. Then, on January 9, Arefany was in a restaurant.

"One of the guys that got shot heard, 'Americans hamburger eaters,'" says Belay.

Witnesses told the family Arefany and his friends were offended, so they left. Then, a police officer who was nearby suddenly opened fire. Arefany died soon after.

"I blame the government because they're the ones training these so-called officers to act out in their behalf," said Brunet Lux, Arefany's stepfather.

According to this family, corruption within Ethiopian police departments is commonplace. They think the ones making the racist remarks in the restaurant may have been involved.

"So, I'm thinking they went up to the police and said, 'Hey, I'll give you $200, shoot at this car.' As a mother I'm thinking a lot. A lot is going through my mind, so I don't have an answer at this time and I need an answer," says Belay.

Arefany's parents want government and civil rights leaders to help investigate. An aide to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., told ABC7 their office is trying to get more information.

"We don't want this to be just another incident of someone being killed in that country," says Lux.

Arefany's plan was to return from Ethiopia at the end of this month and continue taking classes at San Jose City College. His goal was to graduate and become a filmmaker.

Recently he made a film filled with friends in Ethiopia and in the Bay Area, during happier times.

In a span of just seven months, the family's house burned down, they became homeless, and now, their oldest son is dead.

Arefany's family told ABC7 about his story through uReport powered by YouTube.

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