Man who fired a gun outside a local nightclub gets probation
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The court has sentenced to 24-months probation, a man who was arrested for firing a gun into the air outside a nightclub on the night of the Super Bowl LII.
Under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court last month, Hapakuki Fotuaika pled guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm, and discharge of a firearm — both class A misdemeanors.
Fotuaika, who was out on a surety bond, was in court yesterday for sentencing, where he asked for mercy and a second chance.
Defense attorney Thomas Jones and prosecutor Ass’t Attorney General Christy Dunn both recommended a probated sentence for Fotuaika.
Before rendering sentence, Associate Justice Fiti A. Sunia said Fotuaika was initially charged with violating local weapons laws, including a felony. But an agreement with the government resulted in him being convicted of 2 misdemeanors.
Sunia noted that Fotuaika has a criminal record, but it was a minor conviction many years back.
Fotuaika was then sentenced to 12 months jail time for each count. Execution of sentence is suspended, and he is placed on probation for 24 months subject to several conditions.
He must serve 45 days at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) for each count, and he is credited the 3 days he was in custody following his arrest. The court deferred the balance of 42 days, based on good behavior during probation.
Fotuaika is to remain alcohol and drug free, and he has to pay a $500 fine for each count ($1,000 total).
The firearm involved in this case was brought to court yesterday morning by DPS Evidence Custodian, Zenobia Jennings; and by order of the court, the firearm is to be destroyed by police in the presence of the court marshal.
Police were contacted for assistance on the night of Super Bowl LII, but it took them over a week to arrest the defendant. Witnesses told police that Fotuaika was at the nightclub on the night in question and at some point, there was a confrontation between him and a female, the victim in this case.
Fotuaika became angry, walked to his vehicle, grabbed a gun, and fired shots into the air. An eyewitness said Fotuaika kept firing into the air from inside his car — his wife was behind the wheel.
A week after, Fotuaika was served with an arrest warrant, followed by a search of his home, where police found a gun. It was not mentioned whether the gun was loaded when cops found it.