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Man charged for allegedly punching a store clerk who refused to sell him cigarettes

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man charged with public peace disturbance and third degree assault made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday morning.

Vaimaa Vaimaa Jr was released on his own recognizance and ordered by Judge Elvis P. Patea not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim in this case. Furthermore, he is not to enter the Nuuuli store where the alleged assault took place.

Vaimaa's next court appearance is June 27th.

According to the government's case, police got a call this past Tuesday, May 21st, from an Asian man who operates a store in Nuuuli, claiming that Vaimaa assaulted him.

When police arrived, they found the victim on the floor, near his video surveillance monitor. Medical assistance was requested for the man, who complained of a headache and pain in his left eye.

The victim was able to show police video footage of the assault, and explained that the defendant walked into his store and demanded cigarettes. When the victim asked the defendant to show him some identification, the defendant became upset and told the victim he was old enough.

The victim then told the defendant to leave the store but he refused. That's when the defendant allegedly punched the victim, walked away, then came back and punched the victim two more times.

A police officer who viewed the surveillance footage, recognized the alleged assailant and knew where he lived — the Tago area in Nuuuli.

Police went looking for the defendant but were told that he wasn't home, and that he had left in a vehicle.

Vaimaa was apprehended later and taken into custody.

When questioned by police, Vaimaa had a different version of the story. According to him, he went to the store to buy a drink and asked the victim if he was still mad at him. Apparently, the two had an unresolved "issue" that had to do with Vaimaa being upset with the victim because of something that had to do with WiFi.

Vaimaa said he decided to sweep the inside of the victim's laundromat, as a way of "apologizing". He said he asked the victim — again — if he was still mad at him, to which the victim gestured, "yes".

Vaimaa said he continued to ask the victim if he was still upset with him but the victim ignored him. That's when he became angry and punched him. He said he attempted to leave but returned and punched the victim again, twice in the face.