Update: Fatal shooting in Wash state claims life of Aua girl
Last Tuesday, July 4th, while hundreds of Samoans in the Federal Way area of Washington state were celebrating the holiday with family and friends, cops were on the move, investigating reports of a shooting at the Club Palisades apartment complex on South Star Lake Road.
According to news reports, a 23-year-old Samoan man was arrested that same day for allegedly shooting his girlfriend, a Samoan girl, who was visiting from out of state.
What exactly transpired moments before the shooting is unclear.
Federal Way police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said that at about 9:50 a.m. Tuesday, officers were sent to investigate a report of a “self-inflicted gunshot incident”.
The victim, 21, was rushed to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, she didn't make it.
According to news reports, after investigating, detectives “determined that the victim’s boyfriend, a 23-year-old Federal Way resident, shot the victim.” The suspect was then booked into the King County Jail on assault charges. However, since the victim later died as a result of the shooting, it is expected that additional — more serious — charges may be filed.
While news reports from the Emerald City did not identify the victim or the suspect by name, dozens of posts on social media indicate that the victim is 21-year-old Faavale Aiga Muipu of Aua, a 2013 graduate of Samoana High School, and the suspect is her boyfriend, 23-year-old Chris Tavita from Aoa.
Messages of condolences for Muipu's family have flooded her Facebook page since the news of her passing last week.
Her friends and family members describe her as a 'loving person' who always 'smiled' and was filled with 'positive' energy. They call her a "strong woman, strong believer," whose life story is "special".
A post from one of her relatives reads: "You left us with a smile on your face" and "I will forever cherish the memories."
"To our families and friends, let's not point fingers and start blaming people; but learn from what happened. Your life story was special, Vale. The media is flooded with love and joy from your friends who became family."
Aoa residents who know the suspect and his family are in disbelief, saying it's hard for them to accept the reports and "only God knows what happened that day."
A relative of the victim wrote, "To Chris, you are in our prayers. Know that Vale will always love you. It's not easy that you have to go through this, but you are family. We love you bro."
One of the couple's long time friends, who didn't want to be identified "because they were both my friends" told Samoa News that the couple always seemed happy when they were together.
"I would never think something like this would happen," said the couple's mutual friend who lives in the territory and knew Muipu and Tavita before they moved off island. "I still can't believe that this has happened but it is what it is, and all we can do is pray for Vale's family and Chris as well."
As of press time, no new updates on the case could be obtained by Samoa News but those who knew the young couple are still in shock, saying they will await the outcome of a full police investigation before drawing any conclusions.