Two men arrested for assaulting store employees
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two men were arrested last week on the allegation that they damaged a store in the Tafuna area and assaulted employees. When police searched one of the two men, illegal drugs were found inside his pocket.
Brian Vailoa, 24, and Utagaloloto Fata, 25, made their initial appearances in court last month.
Vailoa is charged with 3rd degree Assault and Property Damage, both class A misdemeanors.
Fata is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both felonies, along with one count of 3rd degree assault and one count of resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $1,000 for Vailoa, while Fata’s bail is set at $10,000.
It was around 8:50p.m on Oct. 5th, 2020 when the owner of an Asian store in the Tafuna area contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report that two males were disturbing the peace at his store by throwing a rock that shattered his store window.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the owner of the store who briefed them on the alleged incident.
According to the store owner, two of his employees, who were named in the court affidavits as Victims 1 & 2, informed the two men that they couldn’t buy beer since they didn’t have identification (ID) to confirm they are 21 years of age or older.
Out of anger, Vailoa picked up an empty beer bottle near the store and threw it at the window, shattering it. As Victim 1 opened the door to confront him, Vailoa grabbed Victim 1 by the neck and threatened him by stating that he is going to kill him if he didn’t back off.
Victim 1 instructed Vailoa to go back home because he’s too drunk, but Vailoa didn’t listen, instead he pushed Victim 1 forward causing him to fall and hit the back of his head on the cement floor outside the parking lot. That is when Victim 2 engaged with Vailoa.
Vailoa punched Victim 2’s face, who responded by punching Vailoa. That’s when Fata jumped Victim 2 and punched him. A few moments later, Victim 1 was able to stand up and helped Victim 2, to fight against the two defendants.
Vailoa was fighting Victim 2 while Fata was fighting Victim 1.
As all four men were engaged in the fight, Fata broke away from Victim 1 after Victim 1 fell on the ground again, and ran towards Victim 2 who was fighting with Vailoa and punched Victim 2 multiple times until Victim 2 fell down.
By the time Victim 2 got up, both defendants were assaulting Victim 1, who was now down on the dirt road next to the store. To help Victim 1, as he was being beaten up by both suspects, Victim 2 grabbed a stick and hit Fata several times to break up the fight.
Both defendants fled the scene after the assault.
On the following day, Sept. 6th around 5:45a.m, several police officers proceeded to the scene for a follow up investigation. After interviewing bystanders at the store, an unknown male informed officers where the two suspects live. Officers went to the suspects’ residence and found them there. Both suspects were apprehended and transported to the TPS for questioning.
The police conducted body searches but nothing was found on Vailoa. Fata, on the other hand, was found with a stamp size baggie with white crystalline substance residue, inside his pocket. The white crystalline substance was later tested and confirmed positive for methamphetamine.
Police also discovered another stamp size baggie containing green leafy substance which was tested and confirmed positive for marijuana.