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Young father in the ICU following a weekend stabbing in Pago Pago

American Samoa District Court building
Defendant said he thought his two friends were going to jump him

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young father is fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the LBJ Hospital after being stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Laupepa Toto and Fafau Filipi, who were engaged in a drinking session in front of a Pago Pago store last Saturday morning, were arrested in connection with the alleged stabbing.

Toto made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Pro Temp, Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde this past Monday morning. He was later released by the court, after the government opted not to file any charges against him.

Filipi on the other hand, is being charged; and made his initial appearance in court yesterday morning.

Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn, while new Assistant Public Defender, Bob Stuart is representing the defendant.

Filipi was held at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) for 48 hours, while the government worked to prepare the arrest warrant, which was served Monday afternoon.

Bail is $5,000 and the preliminary examination is set for Sept. 26th.

Tauiliili-Langkilde denied the defense motion to reduce bail from $5,000 to $1,000.

Given the nature of the incident and the injuries the vicim sustained, the court feels the bail amount is suitable.


Around 9:47a.m last Saturday, Sept. 14th, the DPS Central Station received a call from a woman reporting that 3 males were fighting across the street from TM Store in Pago and one man was allegedly stabbed with a knife, and her husband had ran over to break up the fight.

Five minutes later, several cops arrived at the scene, and spoke to the woman who reported the incident. EMS units were also on site.

After gathering information from witnesses, Filipi and Toto were handcuffed and placed in police custody for safety reasons. Police were then directed to where the knife was.

An eyewitness told police that he was on the road heading west with his wife (the woman who reported the incident to police) when they saw 3 men fighting across from TM store in Pago.

He said when they saw what was happening, his wife stopped their vehicle and he ran out to break the fight up and render assistance, while his wife called police. The witness said that when he approached the 3 men, one of them was leaning against a container holding his chest — which was bleeding— while the other 2 men continued fighting.

Other people who were at the scene jumped in and broke up the two males.

When questioned by police, the victim said he and his 2 friends were drinking after they got off of work at the cannery around 5a.m. According to him, their drinking session started at a store in front of the cannery and later shifted near a store in Pago.

The victim told police that at around 9a.m he noticed that Filipi was very drunk and was acting different, so he advised him to finish his last beer and go home; but Filipi refused and wanted to continue drinking.

Later on, according to the victim, Filipi left him and Toto, and walked to the other side of the store. He was almost hit by a vehicle because he was walking in the middle of the road. The victim said that’s when they ran towards Filipi, to check on him and make sure he’s okay.

The victim told police that Toto reached Filipi first, hugged him, and tried to walk him to the other side of the road. When the victim got close to Filipi though, he said he was shocked when he felt a sharp object in his stomach. He said he stumbled and felt dizzy, as he pulled the knife out of his stomach, threw it on the ground, and began holding the area of the stab wound.

The victim underwent surgery and was admitted to the ICU.

Police were able to speak to Filipi on Sunday morning.

According to him, in the midst of their drinking session, Toto started acting angrily towards him, saying things that made him scared, thinking Toto and the victim were going to assault him.

He said Toto threw a beer can at him, but he ducked and missed. Out of fear, Filipi said, he became angry, got up, and walked towards the other side of the road. He told police that he was really mad at Toto and didn’t know what triggered Toto to throw the beer can at him.

While walking towards the other side of the road, Filipi told police he saw Toto and the victim following him. He said he had a concealed cooking knife in his shorts.

As Toto and the victim got closer to him, Filipi said he knew what they were going to do, he knew they were going to jump him.

So when Toto bear-hugged him, that’s when he grabbed the knife with his right hand and stabbed the victim in the stomach, then he felt punches as he was trying to defend himself.

Filipi said he was trying to make his way back to where the victim was standing and holding his stomach, but Toto continued to throw punches at him, causing bruises all over his facial area. He said he fought back but most of his punches didn’t connect because he was too drunk.

Filipi sustained a black eye, a swollen left eye, and a swollen left jaw. A CT scan revealed no fractured bones or internal bleeding, just soft tissue.

The victim however, sustained a stab wound in the upper abdominal area.