Authorities are looking for the pair who gave Hagos Tsegay Melake a ride on the August night before he was found dead.
Authorities and family members of a 26-year-old man found dead in Shoreview last month pleaded Wednesday for the public’s help to find those responsible for the still-unsolved killing.
Hagos Tsegay Melake, of South St. Paul, was found shot in the head Aug. 29 after authorities responded to a report of someone slumped against a building in the 5700 block of Hamline Avenue N. Melake, who didn’t have identifying documents on him, was found lying in the parking lot.
At a news conference on Wednesday, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office said it is looking for two people who gave Melake a ride from a St. Paul restaurant where he was last seen alive, as well as for a woman authorities are still looking for who used his credit card.
“He was my other half, my best friend. And someone took my brother’s life and discarded him like garbage,” said Melake’s sister Wainy.
The night before his body was found, Melake took a bus a little after 10 p.m. from his home to downtown St. Paul, where he went by himself to the Hunan Garden Restaurant on Cedar Street. When the restaurant closed around 1:45 a.m., a witness said Melake left in a vehicle with two people, which surveillance photos show as a man with a shaved head and a person with tattoos on his or her arm.
Because of the quality of the pictures, it’s difficult to tell whether the second person is male or female.
Melake’s card was used at an ATM by an unidentified woman at a U.S. Bank office on W. Broadway in Minneapolis about 4:30 a.m.
“For him to take a ride that someone offered that he had met, that was not inconsistent” with Melake’s nature, said Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom. “He believed in the best in people.”
Melake, who lived with his father in South St. Paul, was described by his family as a hard-working family man. He was studying computer engineering at Inver Hills Community College.
Melake had been robbed on Aug. 15, when $3,800 was stolen from him. Melake ended up with one of the robbers’ cellphones, which he used to try to contact his assailants to get his money back. The robbery is being looked at as part of the murder investigation.
Investigators said Melake’s death was not connected to recent Somali gang homicides. Commander Mike Salter said it was determined that Melake, who is Eritrean, was not involved in gangs.
“Please, we need help” said his father, Tsegay.
Anyone with information about the case should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 651-266-7320 and Crime Stoppers of Minnesota at 1-800-222-8477.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495