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Judge Keeps Santa Monica Hit and Run Suspect’s Bail at $10 Million, Citing Possible Terrorism Link  

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

March 27, 2017 -- Absadi Kidane, who is accused of killing a man last Tuesday in Santa Monica’s Civic Center Parking Lot, when he struck him with his car and continued driving, remains in custody with an unusually high bail set at $10 million.

Multiple news reports say the Los Angeles Superior Court judge currently overseeing the case says it could be connected to terrorism.

The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) reported that 21-year-old Kidane struck a man, reported in various news reports to be 40-year-old Donald Thomas, while he was standing at a parking payment booth.

“The suspect driver exited the vehicle and fled the location,” an SMPD notice states. “Officers gave chase and confronted the suspect at the 300 block of Pico [Boulevard].

“The suspect was taken into custody following a struggle with officers.”

Kidane was charged with vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and forcibly resisting arrest.

Santa Monica Police spokesman Lt. Saul Rodriguez said the ongoing invetigation has not found any indication terrorism was involved.

"We're fully looking into everything, including terrorism," Rodriguez tolf The Lookout. "We haven't found anything (that connects the incident to terrorism) so far."

ABC 7 News reported that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz noted last week’s attack in London, among others, in which a suspect used a vehicle to commit acts determined or alleged to be terrorism.

Detectives also found Arabic writing and a passport showing evidence of travel to the Middle East in Kidane’s vehicle, according to reports.

Kidane’s lawyer Ambrosio Rodriguez, who says his client is an American citizen born to Christian parents from Ethiopia, told CBS Los Angeles that his client was being racially profiled.

“As to my client’s extensive international travel--there’s a very simple explanation for that. His mother has worked at American Airlines for the last ten years,” said Rodriguez, according to CBS Los Angeles.

He continued, “It’s a real shame for the way the system is supposed to work that someone is labeled a terrorist simply because of their name.”

The SMPD has asked people with more information about the case to contact department at 310-458-8491.

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