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Man allegedly assaulted for owing money

American Samoa District Court

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On April 28, 2024, a concerned citizen contacted Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report an alleged assault of a young man seeking help after being assaulted and left on the road.

The defendant was apprehended from his residence and charged with Count 1 — Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

The defendant’s bail was set at $5,000.

According to the affidavit, on April 28, 2024 at around 12 a.m, TPS received a call from the Lagoon’s Taxi Stand reporting a man who was assaulted by one of his neighbors.

Police officers responded to the call and upon arrival met up with a male individual who was later identified as the victim.

The victim verbally stated he was beaten up by one of his neighbors. The victim identified the neighbor as Tuifao Tuifelasa’i.

The victim explained that he was walking home after getting dropped off by his boss. The defendant wrapped his arm around his neck and choked him from the back. As he was trying to fight back, the defendant started punching him in his face so many times that he fell to the ground. Even when he fell to the ground and tried to fight back, the defendant continued punching him in the face.

The victim said that he started yelling out for help and he felt like he had to fight for his life. 

The defendant then stopped and left him on the road and that’s when he (the victim) stood up and ran towards the Taxi Stand. The Taxi Stand dispatcher contacted the TPS.

The victim sustained bruises on his left eye and scratches on his back when he fell to the ground. The victim also couldn’t recall how many times he was punched in the face but he said it was more than 10 punches.

Police officers contacted the EMS to transport him to the hospital for checkup. They then proceeded to locate the defendant.

At about 1:00 a.m on the same date, TPS received an anonymous call providing information about the defendant’s whereabouts and reported that he was at his residence. Police officers were able to apprehend the defendant and transported him to TPS for processing.

The defendant was Mirandized where he understood and agreed to make a statement.

According to the defendant, he beat up the victim because he owed him $30. He assaulted him by punching in the face but couldn’t recall how many times.

Tuifao Tuifelasa’i was booked and confirmed at the Tafuna Correctional Facility until the next available sitting of the District Court.

The suspect is identified as a 20 year-old, U.S National.