Man arrested for firing gun into air on night of Super Bowl LII

Wife not happy with the way police conducted the arrest
ausage@samoanews.com

A man, accused of firing a gun into the air outside a nightclub on the night of Super Bowl LII was arrested by police on Monday afternoon, and he’s being charged with weapon possession.

Hapakuki Fotuaika made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia yesterday with his private attorney, William R. Olson of the RDA Law Firm, and he’s scheduled to appear in court this morning for his preliminary hearing (PX).

Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn represents the government in this case.

According to the government’s case, the alleged victim reported the incident to police on the night of Super Bowl LII — Sunday night — and it took over a week for the police to arrest the defendant.

Witnesses told police that the defendant was at the nightclub with his wife on the night of the Super Bowl and at some point, there was a confrontation between the defendant and a female, who is the alleged victim in this case, which caused the defendant to get mad, walk outside to his vehicle, grab a gun and allegedly then fired shots into the air.

Everyone who was inside the nightclub was told to stay inside because of the gunshots being fired outside; and eyewitnesses told police that the defendant allegedly kept firing the gun into the air from inside his car as his wife drove it off.

After gathering all the information re this case, police then put together their report and forwarded it to the Attorney General’s Office, asking for an arrest warrant and a search warrant from the court to serve on the defendant.

On Monday afternoon this week, at approximately 4 p.m., several police officers executed the arrest warrant on the defendant, which was followed by a search at his home, where they allegedly found a gun. It was not mentioned in the government’s report whether the gun was loaded when police allegedly found it.

The gun is now under the custody of the government, and it’s been place at the DPS evidence room as an exhibit for this case.

Outside the District Court, after the initial appearance yesterday morning, the defendant’s wife approached Samoa News, and said it did not sit well with her the way the police officers arrested her husband.

She said she was inside the car with her husband and their 4-year-old son when the whole event took place on the public highway in front of Triple S. Gas Station in Tafuna.

According to the wife’s version of the story, they were on their way home after dropping off their donation to the Red Cross’ main office in Tafuna, to help with those who were affected by Tropical Storm Gita, when seven police units with several police officers inside pulled over their vehicle in the middle of the road, pointing their guns at them.

“They were pointing their gun to our vehicle while my 4-year-old son was inside. I yelled at them and told them that my son is inside the car but they kept pointing their guns at us without considering the consequences of their acts,” said the wife, with tears in her eyes.

After their vehicle was pulled over by police officers in public, the wife says a police officer then informed her husband about the nature of their operation, including the arrest warrant and the search warrant, and the police escorted their vehicle to their home and conducted their search.

“I asked them to let a lawyer be present on behalf of my husband but they didn’t listen. I also told them that my son was traumatized because of their actions and the way they conducted their operation but they also wouldn’t listen,” the wife said.

“I understand they did their job, but the way this operation was conducted was out of hand and not controlled. They have an arrest warrant for my husband — not for me and my 4-year-old son. So, they must let me and my son out of the car first before they do their job, but what they did was put me and my little son in danger. My son was traumatized, he keeps asking me if the police will kill my Dad, and it breaks my heart when I hear him say that to me.”

The wife admitted that police found a gun at their home, but the gun was found in a “safe place”. She says no ammunition, nor drugs were found at their home.

When asked about her next step pertaining to this whole ordeal, she said that she will bring up this issue when she has time with the Police Commissioner, because she doesn’t want any mother and her 4-year-son or daughter to go through what they experienced this week.

“The operation was very excessive and I don’t understand why police officers need to use this excessive force; while my husband was not someone who hurt or killed anybody. He was just a normal father and a loving person, who loves to reach out and help other people,” the wife said.

Judge Sunia established a $10,000 surety bond for the defendant under certain conditions, if he posts bond, which includes non-possession of any weapons, not to consume any alcohol or illegal drugs; and, he is subject to random testing by a police officer or a Probation Officer. He’s also ordered to surrender his passport.

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