A bullet from a police gun killed a young Faleatiu father Court confirms

Photo of a Faleatiu boy points to one of the bullet holes in their house wall after the police raid

BY Tulifau Auva’a

APIA: FRIDAY 16 MAY 2014: After three days of the inquest into the death of a young father of Faleatiu Village during a police raid in 7 May 2012, Judge Vaepule Vaemoa Vaai today confirmed that the bullet that killed him came from a Police gun.

According to Judge Vaai, he will give his orders at a later date, but the court finding has settled the questions raised by the family of the deceased as to who shot and killed Sialei Lelevaga.

Police had earlier denied that the bullet that killed Lelevaga was that from their guns.

The incident happened early morning where the deceased, 31 year old father of seven, Rapi Sialei Lelevaga, died from bullet wounds to his head.

The cause of death was reconfirmed by the Pathologist, Dr. Fintan Garavan from the Regional Forensic Pathologist in New Zealand who testified today and concluded that there was more than one bullet shot at the Victim that left multiple injuries to his head.

During the forensic investigation, they have confirmed that the bullet that caused the injury was discharged from a police issued firearm.

One of witnesses, a Ballistic expert from New Zealand, Kevin Walsh, said that “when he went to the deceased’s house to take photos, he found 5 bullet shots inside Sialei’s house, he also found other shots in the other side of the wall and found another shot from the rooftop of the house. There was another shot found at the front door of Sialei’s room where Sialei hid and where his (dead) body was found.

Walsh also explained the kinds of bullets found (at location) and the types of firearms used by police during the raid. He said the bullets he found were manufactured in Australia, and he found 39 empty casings of the bullets at where the incident happened.

According to the Dr. Fintan Garavan, he found that the bullet that hit Sialei’s head, passed through left his shoulder, and he found some of Sialei’s blood at the corner of his room.

The 31 year old father of seven, died during the police raid on the early morning hours of May 7th 2012, when police raided their family’s property at Faleatiu after suspicions that they are dealing in marijuana.

There were 26 witnesses including Rapi Sialei Lelevaga’s mother, Police Officers, the ballistic expert and Pathologist from New Zealand.