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Man whose shopping was allegedly stolen is now charged with assault

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man was arrested by police for allegedly assaulting a man in front of a store in the Tafuna area. The victim had allegedly attempted to steal a bag full of items from the defendant’s vehicle parked in the store’s parking lot.

Talosaga Asalele, the defendant, made his initial appearance in court two weeks ago.

He is charged with 3rd degree assault; public peace disturbance and property damage in the 3rd degree, all misdemeanors.

Asalele is now released on his own recognizance while awaiting his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Feb. 25, 2022.

Officers interviewed some of the witnesses that saw the alleged incident.

The first witness told police that the two men involved in this incident were both inside the store. The defendant was paying for his shopping while the victim was standing behind him. After Asalele paid for his shopping, he exited the store and walked to his vehicle and put his shopping inside while the victim followed him outside.

Asalele then walked back inside the store. It was at that time the witness saw the victim run towards the defendant’s vehicle, open the back door and grab the shopping bag full of items.

The defendant saw what was happening and immediately ran out to his vehicle and allegedly grabbed the victim’s shoulder and pushed him away while the victim was still holding the bag in his right hand.

After a brief confrontation between the two men, the defendant punched the victim in the face causing him to fall on the ground — Asalele also kicked the victim’s back and leg while he was on the ground. The victim’s cell phone was also damaged.

A crowd of people immediately rushed to the scene and was able to pull the defendant away.

Three other witnesses were questioned by police regarding the alleged incident, and they all shared the same statement of what happened. One witness told police that the victim threatened to kill the defendant by shooting him after he was assaulted by the defendant.

When questioned by police regarding the alleged incident, Asalele admitted to the assault and immediately apologized for his actions.

Asalele told police what happened, including that the victim threw the first punch — at his chest — when he grabbed the victim’s shoulder. Asalele explained that’s when he turned around and punched the victim in the face causing him to fall on the ground. Out of anger, he also kicked the victim in the back and his leg while he was lying on the ground.

It’s not clear at this time whether the government is going to prosecute the victim for attempted stealing