Man arrested for allegedly punching and kicking man who tried to steal his shopping
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man was arrested by police last week for allegedly assaulting a man in front of an Asian store in the Tafuna area who allegedly attempted to steal a bag full of items from his vehicle parked in the store’s parking lot.
Richard Tafilele made his initial appearance in court last week.
He is charged with 3rd degree assault; public peace disturbance and property damage in the 3rd degree, all misdemeanors.
Tafilele is now released on his own recognizance while awaiting his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Aug. 11th, 2020 at 8:30a.m
According to the government’s case, a woman contacted the Tafuna Police Station (TPS) for assistance after a man assaulted another young male in front of an Asian store in the Tafuna area.
Several police officers responded to the call and observed a crowd of people gathering in front of the store. As officers approached the crowd, they observed a young male sitting on the ground with blood covering his face, while another man was standing beside him.
The man seen sitting on the ground was later identified as the victim in this case, and the man standing next to him was later identified as the defendant in this case. The victim was transported by EMS to the LBJ Hospital for further treatment while the defendant was placed inside the police unit for his own safety.
Officers interviewed some of the witnesses of 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 Tafilele paid for his shopping, he exited the store and walked to his vehicle and put his shopping inside while the victim followed him outside.
Tafilele 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 a shopping bag full of items.
The defendant saw what happened and he 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. The defendant also kicked the victim’s back and leg while he was on the ground. The defendant also damaged the victim’s cell phone.
A crowd of people immediately rushed to the scene and were 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, the defendant admitted to the allegation and immediately apologized for his actions.
Tafilele told police that the victim followed him all the way from inside the store outside to the area where his vehicle parked, and at one point he stopped and turned around and saw the victim following him and asked him why he was following him, but the victim did not say anything.
The defendant told police that when he exited the store, the second time — having gone back in to buy batteries — he saw the victim open the door of his vehicle and attempt to steal one of the bags full of shopping on the back seat. He quickly ran to his vehicle and grabbed the victim’s shoulder and pushed him away.
The victim turned around and threw a punch, which hit his chest. 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.