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Traffic stop nets 20-gauge shotgun

American Samoa District Court

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On March 17, 2024, a traffic stop resulted in a car chase that led to the arrest of Etise Wulf.

Wulf was apprehended at his home and later charged with Count 1: Unlawful Possession of Firearms — 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 $1,000.

According to the affidavit, on March 17, at about 11:07 p.m, officers were patrolling southbound in Pavaiai and observed a motor vehicle traveling northbound by the MJ Store in Pavaiai at the speed reading of 40 miles per hour (mph) and locked at the same speed on the dual stalker radar equipped on the police unit in a 25 mph zone. Police officers activated the unit siren and proceeded to conduct a traffic stop for the speeding vehicle.

The vehicle passed the police unit and was observed by the officers to be a lifted Dodge Ram. The marking on the vehicle has 300 Spartan movie designs on its side.

As the unit turned, facing northbound, the vehicle continued to speed. While officers proceeded to conduct a traffic stop, the vehicle was not observed on the road as the unit passed the turn to Mapusaga Fou LDS Church.

Officers then turned around and started patrolling southbound in search of the vehicle. As the police unit took a turn to the road heading to Filoali’i’s family residence, they observed the vehicle parked in front of one of the Tuinaitau’s residences in Pavaiai.

The vehicle was observed covered with a white tarp, however, the rear license plate was observed to be the same as the vehicle flagged by the officers for speeding.

Officers then parked behind the vehicle with emergency lights activated. A female (later identified to be the suspect’s wife) came out of a hut next to the vehicle and was asked who had been operating the vehicle. The woman replied that it was her husband and identified him as Etisi Wulf.

Police officers asked about the whereabouts of her husband and she replied that he was somewhere in the back of the house. The suspect’s wife began calling out to their plantation for the suspect. The suspect then showed up and was asked if he was the individual who operated the flagged vehicle and he replied “yes”.

Furthermore, he was asked why he did not stop for the police unit and he replied “I was scared because I was issued a ticket before.”

The defendant was apprehended and placed in the passenger seat of his vehicle. The vehicle was impounded to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS), driven by one of the officers.

Upon arrival at the TPS, an inventory of the vehicle was conducted whereas a 20-gauge shotgun was discovered in the back of the front passenger seat.

The weapon was seized by officers and while cleaning the weapon, a 20- gauge live shell was observed loaded in the 20 -gauge shotgun. The shell was removed, and 2 more shells were found beneath the front passenger seat.

The affidavit also stated that the suspect did not have a license for the shotgun or to carry this firearm.

Wulf was Mirandized and during the interview he was asked who owned the shotgun and he replied, “I found the shotgun at the Futiga (rubbish dump) where the trash is being disposed of. I cleaned the weapon and loaded it and placed it inside the vehicle where it was found.”

The suspect was later booked and transported to the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF) to await the next available sitting of the District Court.

The defendant is identified as a citizen of Samoa.