Ethiopian diplomat flees US to dodge prosecution

An Ethiopian diplomat who allegedly fired a gun during a protest this week at his country's embassy in Washington, D.C., has left the United States to escape prosecution.

The State Department on Thursday confirmed that it had asked Ethiopia to waive the diplomat’s immunity so he could be prosecuted in U.S. courts, which was refused.

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"In this case, we requested a waiver of immunity to permit prosecution of the individual involved in that incident," State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said. "The request was declined and the individual involved has now left the country."

Diplomats are expelled from the United States when their host country declines to waive diplomatic immunity.  

Psaki, who did not identify the diplomat, said once expelled, individuals typically are not allowed back to the U.S. for any other reason but prosecution. 

The Secret Service responded to reports of a gunshot at the Ethiopian Embassy compound on Monday and detained an individual believed to have fired the shot. 

No injuries were reported from the incident, which was partially caught on camera with a man in a black suit wielding a handgun amid a small crowd of people before the gunshot is heard. 

Reuters reported the man turned himself into authorities but he was not arrested because of his diplomatic immunity.