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Man allegedly assaults customer after losing control in Fagaima Asian store

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 42-year-old male accused of disturbing the peace in Fagaima made his initial appearance in District Court last week, where he entered a ‘not guilty’ plea to the charges against him.

Thomas Taala, a.k.a. “Thomas Viliamu” is charged with third degree assault, third degree property damage, resisting arrest. and public peace disturbance — all class A misdemeanors.

Defense attorney Bob Stuart asked the court to release his client on his own recognizance, saying he is a first time offender and the allegations against him are not serious. The prosecutor did not oppose and Judge Elvis P. Patea granted the motion.

Taala was released under certain conditions that include him remaining alcohol and drug free. “You are not allowed to go back to the Asian store compound at any time. If you fail to comply with any of these conditions, you will be brought back to court, and the court will send you to the TCF and you will stay there until your case is resolved,” Patea told the defendant.

The government claims that on Jan. 19th, cops apprehended an individual later identified as Taala, for disturbing the peace in the parking lot of an Asian-owned store in Fagaima.

Officers working on the west side said they were at the store parking lot when they heard someone shouting profanity, both in Samoan and English. Cops approached the crowd and observed Taala not only yelling profanities, but also challenging people to a fight.

According to the 52-year-old male victim, he was shocked when a male who appeared highly intoxicated entered the store and punched him in the face while he was standing in front of the cashier. He said he exited the store but the man continued to follow him outside. The man then threw a beer can at him, which missed his head but hit and cracked his vehicle’s rear window.

During the booking process, police could smell a strong odor of alcohol on Taala’s breath and his eyes were bloodshot red. Pretrial conference is Feb. 20th.