PAGO PAGO, American Samoa – A man who had just attended a relative's court hearing fatally shot a veteran police officer outside the courthouse, then stood over the fallen detective and fired two more times as officers and several reporters were nearby, police officials said.
The detective, Lt. Lusila Brown, was providing security at the Thursday afternoon hearing. The alleged shooter, Siaumau Siaumau Jr., apparently knew Brown and was heard asking the detective for a chance to talk as they left the temporary High Court building in the U.S. territory, witnesses said.
Siaumau then pulled a handgun from a small bag under his armpit and fired at the 44-year-old Brown from several feet away, police said.
Siaumau was subdued by court marshals and other police officers. A second officer was wounded during the shooting, but the injuries weren't considered life threatening, authorities said.
Brown, the father of two, had served on the police force for about 16 years. He was unarmed — under territorial law, police officers aren't allowed to carry guns.
Police Commissioner Tuaolo M. Fruean said the shooting was a prime example of why police officers should be armed.
The last time a police officer in American Samoa died in the line of duty was 15 years ago, when an officer drowned after saving a teenager from rough seas.
Officials in Pago Pago couldn't recall the last time an officer had been shot.