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Drinking session at Utulei Beach site of fight and stabbing

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man was arrested last month after he allegedly stabbed another man with a kitchen knife during a drinking session at Utulei Beach.

Several police officers responded to a call from Utulei Beach regarding an alleged incident where a man was injured after he was stabbed twice — in his stomach and back. The caller further stated to police that both the victim and the suspect were drunk.

Police arrived on the scene of the alleged incident, where a crowd had gathered and observed a man sitting on the ground while two males were holding him down in an effort to stop him from fleeing the area. The man was holding a beer can in his right hand.

Police immediately took control of the man being held down and placed him inside a police unit for his safety. The man was later identified as Vaitele Tala’i, the defendant in this matter.

After gathering information from witnesses, Tala’i was transported to the police station for further investigation while the victim was transported by EMS to the LBJ Medical Hospital for treatment.

An eyewitness told police that he was in his vehicle parked in front of the Samoana gym when he saw two men fighting each other. He saw the victim trying to clasp the defendant but the defendant turned around, pulled out a knife and allegedly stabbed the victim in his back and stomach.

Other people who were at the scene then jumped in and broke up the fight.

When questioned by police, the victim said it was the defendant who started the fight by pushing him to the ground during their drinking session. He told the defendant to stop his stupidity but Tala’i, continued his action by yelling out profanities to people and vehicles passing by.

He was mad and immediately punched the defendant in the face. He then apologized to Tala’i for his action and begged him to go home because he was too drunk. The victim also told police that Tala’i is like a brother to him and they have known each other for over 15 years. They both work as carpenters at a local construction company.

The victim described the incident to police that led to the alleged stabbing. According to the victim, while waiting for the defendant to go home, Tala’i left him and walked to the other side of the road and was almost hit by a vehicle because he was walking in the middle of the road. The victim said that’s when he ran towards Tala’i, to check on him and make sure he was okay.

The victim told police that he followed Tala’i telling him to go home, however, he was shocked when he felt a sharp object in his stomach. He turned to run but he also felt something sharp in his back. He said he stumbled and felt dizzy, as he pulled the knife away from Talai’s hand and threw it on the ground, and began holding the area of the stab wound.

The victim further stated to police that Tala’i also stole his wallet containing over $200.

The victim underwent surgery and was admitted to the ICU.

When asked by police, Tala’i stated that he was mad after the victim called him different names and also punched him in the face. The victim also stole $20 from inside his bag while he went to the store to buy more beer for them.

After the victim punched him, he stood up and walked to the other side of the road. However, he saw the victim following him. He said he had a concealed cooking knife in his shorts.

So when the victim bear-hugged him, that’s when he grabbed the knife with his right hand and stabbed the victim in the stomach and his back.

Police searched Tala’i and found the victim’s wallet on his possession. When asked why he had the victim’s wallet on his possession, Tala’i replied that he took the victim’s wallet because the victim also stole his money during their drinking session.

Inside the victim’s wallet police found several photo ID’s of the victim along with $192, cash.

Vaitele Tala’i, a.k.a Vai Tala’i made his initial appearance in court last month.

He is charged with one count of 2nd degree assault and one count of stealing, both felonies and 3rd degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Bail is set at $10,000.