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Case dismissed on DPS detective who allegedly resisted arrest

American Samoa District Court building
Gov’t says it does not have discovery to move forward

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea has dismissed the government’s case against a DPS detective accused of resisting arrest when several officers tried to calm him while he pointed a gun to his head in a suicidal act.

Det. Justin Thomsen, who was charged with one count of resisting arrest, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of $1,000 or both, appeared in court yesterday morning for his second pretrial conference.

Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn represented the government, while Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart represented Thomsen, who was released on his own recognizance while awaiting the outcome of his case.

When the case was called, Dunn informed the court that the government has filed a motion to dismiss the case against Thomsen. She said the government did not have any discovery. Defense attorney Bob Stuart did not object and Patea then granted the motion to dismiss.

When asked by Samoa News about the government’s motion to dismiss, Dunn, with a smile on her face said, “ I can’t comment about the case.”

Samoa News asked if the motion to dismiss has something to do with her leaving American Samoa at the end of this year. Dunn continued to remain silent.

Dunn, who appeared yesterday morning in High Court on other criminal matters, informed Associate Justice Fiti Sunia that she will be leaving the territory permanently in the beginning of December.

(Samoa News should point out that Det. Thomsen was alleged to be staying with Ass’t Attorney General Laura Garvey at the time of the incident, according to Thomsen’s wife.)


It is alleged that on the night of Monday, Sept. 2nd, several officers were alerted after Thomsen sent a goodbye message to a female cop on his Facebook account. A ranking officer requested the DPS Tafuna Substation for a group of cops to be sent to Thomsen’s Iliili residence to check on him. Officers who responded informed the Watch Commander that Thomsen wasn’t home.

An hour later, around 10:28p.m, another request was made to the DPS Tafuna Substation by other senior cops, to send a police unit to the kennel in Tafuna to pick  Thomsen up.

The cops did as they were told and Thomsen was handcuffed and taken to the Tafuna Substation.

When the two cops, who were sent to pick Thomsen up, arrived at the kennel, Thomsen’s police unit was parked outside and the cops found him sitting at a desk pointing a gun to the right side of his head.

Thomsen had an empty liquor bottle and a few cans of beer that he was still drinking. The two cops — male and female — slowly made their way towards Thomsen, trying to talk him into putting the gun down.

The male cop stood in front of Thomsen’s desk and asked him for the gun but Thomsen continued to point the gun at his head. Thomsen had his finger on the trigger, which made it hard for the two cops to snatch the weapon away from him.

As the male cop reached for Thomsen’s hand, the gun fired one round and that’s when the male cop grabbed the gun and forced it out of Thomsen’s hand, while the female cop climbed over the desk, grabbed Thomsen, and held him as he started crying.

Thomsen was searched and no other weapons were found on him.

The male cop told investigators that after the gun went off — one round towards the ceiling of the kennel — he struggled with Thomsen, trying to remove the gun from his hand. When he was able to, he said he also removed a pocket knife he saw on the table.

The male cop said he quickly ran out of the building and unloaded Thomsen’s gun by removing one bullet in the chamber and placing it back into the magazine.

When questioned by police, Thomsen’s wife explained that her husband hasn’t been home for a while — that he had moved out and was staying with Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey, but they agreed that he was always welcomed home.

She said she wasn’t aware of the situation until a DPS sergeant came by the house asking if Thomsen was home. According to his wife, she and Thomsen never got into an argument and were never on bad terms.