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Homicide victim came to US to escape violence in homeland – Author: Jaccii Farris

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - He came to this country to escape the violence of war, but ended up losing his life on the streets. Hagos Mezgebo, a refugee from the war-torn African nation of Eritrea, was identified Monday as


He came to this country to escape the violence of war, but ended up losing his life on the streets.

Hagos Mezgebo, a refugee from the war-torn African nation of Eritrea, was identified Monday as Allentown’a first homicide victim of 2012.

Catholic Charities brought Mezgebo, 22, to the United States three years ago.



No one, not his friends or his co-workers, said they saw this coming.

“Seeking peace and tranquility and coming here and then meeting such an untimely and unfortunate death is certainly something that has been a shock to all of us here,” said Will Miller, Catholic Charities.

Mezgebo was one of 76 refugees brought to the U.S. by the Diocese of Allentown’s Catholic Charities program.

Before then, Mezgebo spent 2-and-a-half years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, with scant food, water and medical treatment.

The program helped him find a place to live, take English classes so he could become a citizen and find a job at Heaps on 17th Street.

Mezgebo sent much of his paycheck back to his family in Eritrea.

His friends, also refugees, are devastated by his death. His supervisor said Mezgebo was a shy person who worked hard.

“He was quiet. He was shy,” said Brandon Hieter. “We would joke around with him a little bit to get him laughing. He enjoyed it here. It’s a shame to hear what happened to him.”

Mezgebo didn’t run around with the wrong crowd, said Miller, adding that immigrants don’t always understand the culture and customs of their new country.

“They are not as attuned or even knowledgeable about things that would concern or worried about,” said Miller.

Mezgebo was an orthodox Christian. His death happened at the beginning of the Christmas celebration, which Miller said was very hard for the Eritrean community to deal with.

Catholic Charities is helping Mezgebo’s family with funeral arrangements. The family wants to bury him here in the country he loved.

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Review overview
  • January 11, 2012

    Its Amazing how the America government and the catholic church are stealing those innocent shy young people by attracting them to disown their country as in this case Eritrea and attracting them to immigrate to America. Once their get there they dash them in some ghetto area and expect them to roast there for their rest of their life.
    In the case of this guy it would of been better for him to serve his own country and live with his community and culture in his own country.

    • Hermon January 13, 2012

      From your comment, I can tell that you are one of the brutal dictator supporters. I don’t need to justify how Eritreans change their life dramatically when they come to the land of immense opportunity. And on the other hand no one needs a justification how you remain a state sponsored slave in an open prison state called Eritrea

  • sol January 12, 2012

    I think we have to wake up from people who creating hate crimes, I think some of our culture particularly Gedli and post Gedli create a hate propaganda as a cover up to raise Eritrean nationalism, if these behaviors are not checked on time in the ling run it is going to create hate crime which will be devastating to Eritrean nationalism as well as our social fabric by fusing conflict among regions, religions, ethnicity, origin and language.We pretend we are one heart but not immune what happens in Kosovo, Burundi, Rwanda and other places, such as calling names to Amhara, Tigrians, Muslims, and regions. Unless we build a nation which respect the human race we can not respect ourselves, so if we are not tolerant to our differences we need strong rules and penalties ti protect the weak or the vulnerable group regardless of his origin,race,relgion- we need justice for everybody

  • Zeray January 13, 2012

    Eritreans are dying in every major citiy these days.This week (one young man in Orange county California), last year (one in Los Angeles), another young one (in Seatle) we can go on and on. Some due to suicide and some due to violence. We have heard it all. Eritreans got betrayed by this regime and shamefully many live without hope. The light at the end of the tunnel for many is turned off!

    Unless the people rise up and say enough is enough the dark ages will continue. What is killing our young people is passiveness by many of us. May he RIP and may God help us all to wake up.

  • Zeray January 13, 2012

    By your comment it looks like you want a lot of attention and you got it. If what you wrote and what you mean is the same, I hate to be your neighbor. For the record, In this dark times Eritreans are being taken care of by fellow Tigrians (Ethiopians). I have reports from the ground that Eritreans were hosted with dignity and respect as soon as they arrive from Eritrea in Tigray. Yes, they started to taste human dignity as soon as they set foot in Tigray. You can read anything you want into this- but facts are facts.

  • Hanibal yohannes February 2, 2012

    it is realy sad nes.