Four deaths over New Year period
A man has been arrested over an alleged double homicide, another is at large following a fatal stabbing and a child has drowned in what Police say was a disappointing start to 2021.
All four deaths occurred in the 24 hours leading up to the New Year and preliminary investigations indicate alcohol was a factor in all three homicides, Police said.
In Afega, two men were shot either soon after or before the New Year rang in what was described as an alcohol-related incident.
The Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil said a low-calibre .22 millimetre handgun had been used as the murder weapon and the suspected perpetrator was now in Police custody.
Police say an older man in his 60s is believed to have been the assailant, the Commissioner said.
“He has not yet been charged but we expect he will be later this afternoon,” he said.
Meanwhile, the perpetrator of another fatal violent incident remained at large on Friday morning, following what the Commissioner described as a “drink up gone wrong” at the village of Fagaloa.
A 24-year-old man is reported to have died; the Commissioner said that he had been stabbed in the chest.
“Police have the weapon used [...] in our custody,” he told the Samoa Observer.
But while the killer was on the run, the Commissioner said he had been identified and a manhunt was underway.
“Detectives all around the area are in pursuit and it won’t be long now,” he said.
"He will captured sooner or later".
The Commissioner said preliminary investigations suggested that locally-produced alcohol was involved in the latter incident as he appealed to the public for responsible consumption of alcohol.
“This [alcohol] is literally killing our people,” he said.
“But there is only so much we can do about it as Police. We need to work with others”.
In another incident that occurred on 31 January a toddler or infant, also at Afega, died as a result of drowning.
“That is not being treated as suspicious,” the Commissioner said.
Otherwise, the Commissioner said the Police were kept “extremely busy” on New Year’s Eve including by smaller incidents such as scuffles and rock-throwing.
“This was not a good start to the new year,” the Commissioner said.