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Minnesota man faces charges after incident at Estherville bank

By Staff | Mar 30, 2020


A Minnesota man is facing charges following an incident at Northwest Bank in downtown Estherville on Thursday.

At approximately 9:40 a.m., Estherville police officers and Emmet County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Northwest Bank. Eyewitnesses reported seeing Estherville Police Department officers holding a suspect at gunpoint as squad vehicles blocked the drive-through at the bank.

Officers were advised there was a male suspect in the drive-through banking lanes wearing a bandana and waving a gun. The caller stated she believed the gun was not real, but was not sure. The suspect pointed the weapon at the bank camera and pulled the trigger. There were at least two other people in the vehicle, according to the police report.

Officers and deputies responded to the bank drive-through and confronted the suspects. The suspects complied with the direction of the officers. Two male suspects were detained during the investigation. Following an investigation, it was determined that the gun was a toy, but bank video confirmed that the suspect had pulled the bandana up around his mouth and nose several times during the incident.

The suspect is identified as Simon Berihu Gebrehiwot, 20, of Worthington, Minn. He was arrested for first degree harassment. Officers discovered Gebrehiwot had an outstanding warrant for his arrest through the Minnesota Department of Corrections for parole violation on an original charge of threats of violence, stemming from a November 2019, incident in which Gebrehiwot brandished a gun and made threats in a Worthington retail store.

Gebrehiwot was transported to the Emmet County Jail where he was booked and awaits an initial appearance before a magistrate. The other occupants of the vehicle, including a small child, were released without charges following the initial investigation. More charges in the case may be pending.

Gebrehiwot has a history with the Worthington Police Department dating to when he was 15 years old, including assault, sending sexually explicit messages from jail to a minor female, harassment, and displaying weapons.

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.