'Disgruntled Employee' Kills Three, Self
Feb. 16, 1989
BETHESDA, Md. (AP) _ A debt collector who fatally shot three co-workers at a savings and loan bank before killing himself had spent two years in a mental hospital after allegedly asking a police officer to shoot him, a state health official says.
Emanuel Tsegaye, 33, of Silver Spring, Md., argued with a supervisor Wednesday, left work and returned with .38-caliber revolver concealed in an athletic bag, police said. A fourth employee was shot in the jaw, police said.
Tsegaye, a native of Ethiopia, had been a collector reportedly since October in the Visa card department of the Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank in this Washington suburb. The shootings began in the seventh-floor office where he worked - a large room in which about 75 employees are grouped and separated by six-foot partitions.
Officer George Ludington, spokesman for the Montgomery County police, said Tsegaye was a ''disgruntled employee'' but would not elaborate. He said detectives were still piecing together the motive.
The Maryland State Health Department said Tsegaye had been released in October 1986 after spending about two years at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, a psychiatric facility in Jessup, Md.
Tsegaye was sent to the mental hospital after he was ruled criminally insane following his arrest on charges of assaulting a police officer, the spokesman, Mike Golden, said.
''All of the people that I have talked to about it are very disturbed, very surprised by it ... because all indications were that Mr. Tsegaye was doing very well,'' Golden told WUSA.
The station said Tsegaye had originally been arrested after approaching a Montgomery County police officer and saying, ''I want to die, kill me,'' and then reaching for the officer's gun. He was charged with attempted murder in that case, according to the television report.
A Montgomery County police official said late Wednesday the department would not release any details about Tsegaye's background.
The dead women were identified as: Cynthia Mitchell, 28, of Landover, Md.; Tanya Walker, 23, of Fort Washington, Md.; and Mahasty Agha-Khan, 29, of Silver Spring.
Tsegaye also wounded Edward Johnson, 22, of Silver Spring, police said. Johnson, who was shot in the jaw, was in critical condition at Suburban Hospital after surgery.
''I was right next to Ed when he shot him first,'' said Dean Abellano. ''I dived under my chair.''
Employee Victor Walker said Tsegaye had had a fight with a male co-worker last week and that worker might have been the target of his anger. Others said Tsegaye also had had a disagreement Wednesday with his female supervisor, allegedly about a personal phone call.
But witnesses said neither of those two people was shot.
One of the women who died was killed in the office area, and the other two were shot in a nearby lunch room, Ludington said.
''I had no idea that he would flip,'' said co-worker Carla Waters.
''I got along with him pretty well,'' said another co-worker, Mark Anthony Hines. ''We went on smoke breaks. From what I hear, the people who worked with him didn't like him.''