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Press Release

Anchorage Man Sentenced for Assaulting a Deputy U.S. Marshal with a Sawed-Off Shotgun

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska – Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that an Anchorage man was sentenced yesterday to 41 months in federal prison for assaulting a Deputy U.S. Marshal with a deadly and dangerous weapon while the Deputy was engaged in his official duties.


Leigaga Selau Amituanai, aka: “G,” 27, of Anchorage, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason to 41 months, followed by three years of supervised release and 120 hours of community service. On Feb. 14, 2017, Amituanai pled guilty to Count 1 of the Superseding Indictment, which charged him with assault on a federal officer with a dangerous and deadly weapon.


According to court documents filed in this case, on the morning of Feb. 11, 2016, the Deputy U.S. Marshal was on duty, conducting surveillance in an unmarked United States Marshals Service (USMS) vehicle in a business parking lot near Mountain View Drive and North Park Street in Anchorage. Shortly before 10:30 a.m., Amituanai and co-defendant Sulu Faamolemole, aka “Chase,” pulled into the parking lot driving a stolen brown Toyota pickup truck. After spotting the Deputy U.S. Marshal’s vehicle and noting its darkly tinted windows and the fact it was running, they slowly approached his vehicle, staring and gesturing aggressively at the Deputy.


When the pickup truck crossed directly in front of the Deputy U.S. Marshal’s vehicle, Amituanai pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and pointed it at the Deputy to intimidate him, all while maintaining eye contact with the Deputy. Amituanai and Faamolemole passed the Deputy, and turned west onto Mountain View Drive.


When APD officers and the Deputy U.S. Marshal tried to pull over Amituanai and Faamolemole in the Red Apple parking lot a short time later, Amituanai and Faamolemole attempted to elude officers, driving down an embankment onto the Glenn Highway exit ramp at Bragaw Street before leading law enforcement on a high speed chase down Bragaw Street and into a residential neighborhood. A sawed-off shotgun was found next to Amituanai’s seat. In addition, multiple shotgun shells, a loaded pistol, burglary tools, multiple sets of car keys, and other evidence of criminal activity were recovered from the vehicle. The investigation revealed that Amituanai was encountered by the Anchorage Police Department twice in stolen vehicles the month prior to assaulting the Deputy on Feb. 11, 2016.


In sentencing Amituanai, Judge Gleason stated the defendant’s crime was one “that, as a community, we cannot . . . tolerate.” Judge Gleason specifically found that Amituanai believed that the person in the Deputy’s unmarked vehicle was likely a law enforcement officer, and that fact made his crime even more serious. The Judge also found that in early 2016 Amituanai was “out of control in terms of criminal behavior,” noting the defendant was arrested in a stolen vehicle, with a sawed-off shotgun, and burglary tools.


“Protection of law enforcement officers as they diligently perform their duties is an essential responsibility of the Department of Justice,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Schroder. “Every day, all across the country, law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of this nation from violent crime. We will continue to hold responsible those who threaten our law enforcement professionals.”


“It is not within a law enforcement officer’s routine duties to be threatened with lethal force, nor should it ever be,” said Robert Heun, United States Marshal for the District of Alaska. “While it happens all too often, it must never be considered the norm or simply a part of the job. Such assaults are not only upon the individual officer, but upon the greater law abiding citizenry that he or she represents.”


Faamolemole is scheduled to be sentenced on July 10, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Gleason in Courtroom 3.


The United States Marshal Service (USMS), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the Anchorage Police Department (APD) conducted the investigation in this case.

Updated June 23, 2017