Fight between two families in Tafuna land man and two sons in jail
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A fight between two families in the Tafuna area last month landed a man and his two sons in court after they were arrested and charged with assaulting a man and his brother at their house.
During the arrest, police discovered illegal substances on the man. Nothing was found in his two sons’ possession.
The man, Lole Vito, along with his two sons made their initial appearances in court last week. His two sons (one is a juvenile) are charged by the government separately.
Vito is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth) and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies; punishable by terms of imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000 or both; along with one count of 2nd degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Bail is set at $15,000 and Vito is set to appear in District Court next week for his preliminary hearing.
On Sept. 25th, 2021 at 5:43p.m, Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a woman regarding a disturbance in the Tafuna area. The woman, who sought police assistance, told officers that two neighboring families were fighting and it appeared a man and his children were beating up on two men.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the woman who reported the incident.
When questioned about what happened, the reporter verbally stated to officers that she was in the house (close to the house of the two victims) when her 13-year-old daughter came running towards her and informed her that a man was being assaulted, allegedly by three unknown male individuals.
The reporter immediately contacted the TPS for assistance.
Officers arrived and got the matter under their control, detaining three male individuals who were on the scene. They were later identified as Lole Vito and his two sons.
The two victims were standing in front of their house when police arrived. Both victims were transferred to EMS personnel for medical treatment.
Officers interviewed several eye-witnesses regarding the alleged assault. One witness told officers that while he was standing on the right side of the fence that borders the house of the two victims where the alleged assault took place, he saw two men and it looked like they were fighting.
The two men were later identified as Vito and the first victim.
The eyewitness told officers that Vito threw the first punch at the first victim’s face, causing the victim to fall to the ground.
The second victim then ran up and tried to pull the first victim to the house but Vito turned around and punched the second victim in the face, causing the second victim to fall to the ground too.
Suddenly, he saw two young men arrive on the scene and help the man who was holding a metal pipe allegedly beating both men (victims) who were on the ground.
Another witness told officers that she was in her house, which is close to the area where the incident took place, when she heard a disturbance outside. And, when she came outside she saw three unknown male individuals on top of two men allegedly punching and swearing at them.
The second eyewitness identified the three men as Vito and his two sons.
Another eyewitness told officer that he was walking on the road when he saw one of the defendants, Vito’s son, allegedly strike the victim with a metal pipe before he punched him. Suddenly, Vito and another young male joined in assaulting the victims.
The three unknown male individuals were later identified as Vito, his 19-year-old son, Matthew Vito and a 15-year-old juvenile. According to the witness, that’s when she ran inside the house and told her parents about the matter. She then contacted police for assistance.
After interviewing witnesses, officers questioned one of the victims in this case who was at the scene after the alleged assault. According to the victim’s verbal statement to officers, he was working in his yard while Vito was drinking beer beside his fence.
He witnessed Vito throw his empty beer bottle into his yard and that’s when he called out to Vito to act like an adult.
The victim told officers that Vito is a good neighbor who always says hello to him and his family almost everyday when they see each other around. On this particular afternoon, Vito was a different person.
While still working in his yard while his brother was listening to music in front of their house, he was shocked when Vito walked towards him with a piece of timber and allegedly struck him three times, once on his arm and twice in his body area. The victim said he wasn’t ready for what happened because he was bending down to pick up the trash when Vito approached him with the piece of timber.
The victim tried to stand up and rush inside his house in an effort to avoid Vito as he continued to strike him with the piece of timber, however, he (defendant) kept coming at him throwing punches that caused him to fall down.
His brother saw what happened and ran to pick him up, however, Vito turned around and assaulted his brother also.
The victim further stated to officers that when both he and his brother fell down on the ground, Vito was joined by his two sons and they continued the assault by punching and kicking them. He shouted out to Vito and his two sons to please stop but they allegedly continued the assault.
The victims were later transported to the TPS for medical assistance.
Officers then proceeded to the house of the defendant and his two sons in an effort to get their side of the story about what allegedly happened. Officers met up with the defendant and his sons at their residence in the same area, not far from the area where the assault took place, and informed them they needed to come to the TPS to discuss the matter.
Before Vito and his two sons were transported to the TPS for questioning, they were searched for weapons. Nothing was found on the two sons, however, when they patted down Vito, officers discovered one hand rolled marijuana cigarette inside his front pocket, while a glass pipe containing meth was found in his rear pocket.
Vito was Mirandized and he informed officers that he understood his rights and wished to make a statement about the matter.
According to Vito, the fight started when the first victim yelled profanity at him and his sons while they were having fun on their side of the fence. He further stated that it was the first victim who threw the first punch at him, and that was when the fight started.
Vito also told officers that the second victim ran and tried to punch him in the face but missed. He then turn around and assaulted him.
When asked about the illegal substances found in his possession, Vito told officers that the illegal substances belonged to him.
Vito’s son Matthew was also Mirandized and he informed officers that he understood his rights and he wished to make a statement about what happened too.
According to Matthew’s verbal statement, he was getting ready for work when he heard his younger brother calling out to him saying that their dad was involved in a fight outside their house. Matthew told officers he came running outside when he saw a man trying to separate his father from the victim. He also verbally stated that he and his younger brother couldn’t stand by while their dad was fighting, so they jumped in and started punching one of the victims who was causing trouble with their dad.
When asked by officers if he assaulted the victim, Matthew said yes, he threw punches at the victim’s facial area and body while the victim was on the ground. He further admitted that his younger brother also threw punches as well while the victim was lying on the ground.
The juvenile was also questioned by officers regarding what happened while his father (defendant) was present. He agreed to answer questions from officers after he was Mirandized.
According to the juvenile’s verbal statement to officers, he heard his dad rushing to go somewhere, and he followed him. He then saw that his dad was being separated from the victim by another man and it seemed like they got into a fight. So, he didn’t think twice. He called out to his older brother Matthew and they both ran towards the location where the victim was and assaulted him.
The juvenile admitted that he punched the victim in the facial area and body while he was lying on the ground.
According to the court affidavits, Vito, along with his two sons, Matthew and the 15-year-old juvenile were later booked and confined at TCF after being interviewed.