Michael Gidewon operated as a nightlife entrepreneur for 35 years, immigrating to Atlanta from Eritrea in East Africa with his brother, Alex, because of violence. The pair were co-owners of Republic Lounge.
A popular Atlanta businessman was shot and killed over the weekend in front of a nightclub he and his brother co-owned.
Michael Gidewon, 50, was identified by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office as the man whose body Atlanta police arrived to find outside the Republic Lounge in West Midtown just before 7 a.m. Saturday, according to Fox 5 Atlanta News.
11Alive News reported that a patron at Republic removed for being intoxicated allegedly returned with a gun and shot Gidewon.
Gidewon operated as a nightlife entrepreneur for 35 years, per documents submitted to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office. He and his younger brother, Alex, emigrated from Eritrea in East Africa because of violence, working as valets while learning the ins and outs of the industry.
Dr. Shireda Howard, who had known Gidewon for nearly two decades as his accountant and friend, remembered him as a reserved person and "a watcher."
"That takes on a whole different dynamic because you're really taking work home at that point," Howard said of Gidewon and his brother, who owned several clubs together, 11Alive reported. "They were able to overcome all of that and still come here and be successful and still become a very integral part of the city from the standpoint of not just employing, having nightclubs, but they also had a foundation."
Gidewon built a reputation for hosting and befriending entertainers, including T.I., Lil Baby, Usher, Young Jeezy, Nelly, Jermaine Dupri, and Ludacris, according to Fox 5.
Aside from his popularity in the nightlife sector, he also devoted his time to charitable endeavors, including multiple Thanksgiving dinner drives.
Republic Lounge describes itself on its website as Atlanta's "New Gold Standard," boasting a prime location on the outskirts of one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city and offering guests the chance to make the most of their night out.
"We have created the perfect environment for everything," the website states, "from casual drinks with friends to invite-only, star-studded red carpet events, & everything in between."
Still, the area has experienced violence over the years, according to Fox 5. Seven people were stabbed during a 2021 New Year's event inside Republic, and in May 2022, police gave chase and arrested a man firing a gun in the air outside the location. Four people were also shot outside the now-defunct Compound nightclub, which Gidewon's brother ran only a block from the Republic, in January 2020.
Investigators haven't made any arrests related to Gidewon's death. According to 11Alive, he is survived by his wife, Selam, and four children, all in middle and high school.
"His family meant the world. I know that he loved his wife, his children," Howard said, 11Alive reported. "He wanted to make sure that he could provide for them regardless of what was happening."
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