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Man charged after fight over rumors that he was selling drugs inside the village

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was released by the District Court on his own recognizance last month after he entered a not guilty plea to disturbing the public peace (PPD) and third degree assault is back in court for the same thing.

Vincent Tu’iala is now charged with 4 misdemeanors: PPD, third degree assault, third degree property damage, and criminal contempt of a court order.

He entered a not guilty plea during his initial appearance in District Court this past Monday, where Judge Elvis P. Patea set bail at $500. If he is able to post bail, Tu’iala is ordered to stay away from where the alleged incident took place, be a law-abiding citizen, and remain sober.

The government claims that police got a call during the early hours of Sunday, Feb 23, 2020 regarding a man allegedly throwing rocks at their residence, shouting loudly (Samoan war cry), and yelling profanities.

When cops arrived, the defendant walked towards the police unit yelling profanities at them. Tu’iala was standing at the back of the victim’s house holding rocks in both hands. As soon as Tu’iala saw police, he threw down the rocks and fled the scene.

Tu’iala was apprehended by police officers a few blocks from the area where the alleged incident occurred. When police apprehended the suspect, police observed blood coming from his facial area and his head. Another cut was also observed by police on his left foot. Tu’iala was later transported by EMS personnel to LBJ Hospital for treatment.

The victim told police that Tu’iala came to his house drunk and asked him if he could speak to his son. While the suspect and the victim’s son were standing outside of the house, the victim heard Tu’iala shouting profanity at his son. He then came out of the house to check what was going on.

The victim asked the suspect why he was loud and yelling profanity. The suspect did not reply but punched the victim in the face causing the victim to fall down. The victim’s son who was standing beside the suspect struck the suspect’s head with a hard piece of wood.

The suspect then ran to the back of the victim’s house. A few moments later, the victim and his family heard rocks hitting the roof of the house, while one rock hit the victim’s vehicle parked outside of the house.

The victim told investigators that Faumui continued to yell profanities in front of their home, and threatened him, saying he was going to come over and cut him with a machete, and chop everyone up.

The suspect was treated at the LBJ Hospital and was later released into the custody of police. When asked about the alleged incident, the suspect told police that he went to confront the victim’s son for spreading rumors that he’s (suspect) involved in selling illegal drugs inside the village.

As he spoke to the victim’s son, the son pushed him causing his head to hit the back of the vehicle. That is when he got mad and yelled out profanity. The victim came out and yelled profanity at him and threaten to shoot him with his gun. According to the suspect, that is when he allegedly assaulted the victim by punching him in the face before the victim’s son struck his head with a hard piece of wood.

Pretrial conference is set for Apr. 14, 2020.