City Desk

Friendly Card Game Leads to Homicide at Salina Restaurant

Silver Spring resident Assefaw Hagos was having some drinks last Friday at Salina, an Ethiopian-style restaurant also serving Italian food at 1936 9th Street NW.

Sometime after the dramatic conclusion to Game 5 of the NBA semifinals between the Phoenix Suns and the L.A. Lakers, Hagos, 40, asked the restaurant's proprietor, Terfneh Kahsay, if he could go upstairs, where a card game was underway.

When police arrived on the scene at approximately 2:19 a.m., Hagos was lying on the sidewalk outside the establishment, suffering from stab wounds. He later died.

Kahsay told D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board on Wednesday that people often come over to his private second-floor residence above the restaurant for card games. The residential entrance sits outside, through a separate door from the restaurant.

It was simply a friendly card game–no money, no booze–Kahsay said. The owner was closing shop with a waitress when someone knocked on the door of his restaurant and informed him that Hagos and Samson Alemayhu, 48, were fighting outside.

“I don’t know what happened upstairs. I didn’t know until after I closed,” he said. The altercation took place outside the establishment after it had closed for the night, he noted. The restaurant does not employ a security guard, nor does it have surveillance cameras. By the time Kahsay got outside, Alemayhu had left, only to return shortly with a knife, he testified.

Hagos and Alemayhu had known each other since residing in Athens, Greece, years ago. “They argued in the past, but I never seen any weapons coming out,” Kahsay said.

Hagos was transported to Howard University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 3:04 a.m. Alemayhu was arrested late Sunday and charged with first-degree murder.

ABC Board Chairman Charles Brodsky advised Kahsay to install surveillance cameras.

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  • tazabi

    Bullshit lying to the neck. It is gambling for money. There is no friendly card game. They fought over money.

  • Hailu

    "No money, no booze...," yeah, right! Unlicensed liquor service and gambling joint, hope the authorities make an example of the owner, and many others like him!

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  • gabriel

    the owner of the restaurant sell liquors and boozes under the table after hours.this is common to abbysia business people.this owner is responsible for his death and must be charges of negligence of assefaw tewolde hagos(Is a person who help to people to every body).The person who kill him i wish him to stay in jail the rest of his life.He is a moron serial killer


  • samsom

    Trust me, The owner is responsible for his death. I know they were gambling for money. And the owner sells liquar with out liquar permit. And he makes money for using his place for letting them gamble. He has to be questioned by police autorities and find out what is going on there.

  • Kidane

    Dear Editor,

    The owner should be responsible and must be investigated. He is obviously laying through his teeth. Because, it is unlikely people would kill each other over a friendly card game. DC people know well that the restaurant attracts local gamblers and the owner should spend some money for the safety of his customers.


    Kidane from Canada

  • http://nazret Woregnoch

    These postings give testemony to how Ethiopians behave. If indeed this resturanteer was doing clandestine operatioins, why would you all: tazabi, hailu, gabriel, samson and kidane be sniching the way you do? How come there is no solidarity, no integity or trust among Ethiopians. How come we do not have eachothers back... ASS-u-me-ing that you all are not shabia fools?

  • sara

    please everyone shut up the owner doest have anything with this problem he is not even responsible this people is not 10years old they are a grown man and they were friends, no one know why this person kill him it could be jealous or haters or lose control no one is in the killer mind. please dont blame the owner of the restaurant he can sell what ever he want there is game or beer every where. whats the big deal about the game or beer. and leave the dead person alone the police will take care of this you guys dont help nothing except lab lab lab shshsh you guys are like flies work your mind all

  • sara

    dont worry everyone the killer will tell the police why he kill hagos shut up trust who ever you want to trust this happen in life every day its not new. there is worst than this

  • sara

    my prayer go out to assefaw hagos and his family.

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