One dead, three officers down at Faleatiu gunfight
APIA, Samoa — A narcotics raid at Faleatiu early Monday morning (Samoa time) has left three Police officers injured and a Faleatiu man dead.
According to Police Commissioner Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo, the officers were in the lead vehicle and went down in the initial hail of gunfire from unknown assailants.
“Police countered and the immediate priority was to retrieve the fallen officers. The order was also given to the squad to pull back. We did not want to escalate the situation,” he said.
The injured officers — a senior sergeant and two constables — are being treated at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Memorial Hospital.
“One officer received chest wounds and is in serious condition. The other two have bullet wounds to the arms and legs, they’re out of danger,” said Lilomaiava.
According to reports, a deceased Faleatiu man was brought to a funeral parlor in Apia late morning with a gunshot wound to the head.
Commissioner Lilomaiava said police “will not back off... [during the] incident” and that the morale in the force was high.
“The officers understand their job and getting injured in the line of duty is part of their job description,” he said.
This operation, the Commissioner said, involved some 30 officers, all trained in using firearms.
The Faleatiu area has been a hotbed for narcotics activity for many years. Two policemen being slain there during similar Police raids in the past.
(Samoa News Editor’s note: This story, first published in the Samoa government newspaper, Le Savali, is reprinted by Samoa News with permission from Le Savali, whose editor is Tupuola T. Tavita.)