Vigil for Hunter High Students Killed in January After Shooter Gets Plea Deal: The loss of her son Paul has left Lata tahi feeling that she must make something positive out of it. She proclaimed, “Justice for all, not just three lads.” Tiffani Lopati and Paul Tahi were killed in a shooting outside of Hunter High School in West Valley City about a year ago.
Another victim of the gunfire was Ephraim Asiata, who was badly injured and taken to the hospital. At first, the 14-year-old accused killer faced two counts of criminal murder. The boy confessed to manslaughter at a juvenile court hearing on Monday. He faces up to six years in a juvenile jail.
On Thursday afternoon, Sinia Maile and other members of Paul’s family held a vigil outside the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office that quickly erupted into a vociferous protest. She stated, “I thought it was just going to be my family coming out here, but our community did turn out. I attribute that to the fact that we are a communal people.
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Following Monday’s plea deal, Tivani Lopati’s family released the following statement:
“The last three days have been a living hell for our family. On Monday, we watched in disbelief as our son’s shooter admitted to reduced charges and was sentenced to juvenile detention. While we would never wish this pain on any other family, we are extremely disappointed that the shooter received such a light sentence given the severity of the crime.
In an Instagram post, Ephraim’s mother made the following remark to FOX 13:
“NO APOLOGY CAN BRING BACK THE LIVES YOU HAVE TAKEN. THE SYSTEM ONCE AGAIN HAS FAILED TO GIVE JUSTICE TO OUR FAMILY THE LOPATI AND BLOOMFIELD FAMILIES. YOU SCARRED MY SON FOR LIFE AND DAYUM NEAR TOOK HIS LIFE. THE AMOUNT OF SURGERY HE HAD TO GO THROUGH TO STAY ALIVE, WHILE YOU SIT THERE PROTECTED AND ACTING LIKE YOU ARE A GOOD KID GIVES ME NO SYMPATHY FOR YOU…. MY SON NEEDED A TRANSPLANT BECAUSE OF YOU (Pancreas, Liver & small intestine)… ALL NEW ORGANS AND A NEW ANATOMY… TUBES COMING OUT OF HIS BODY…THESE BOYS HAD A FUTURE IN FOOTBALL AND YOU TOOK THAT AWAY… ARE YOU GOING TO PAY FOR THE DAMAGES?!? U TOOK A GUN ON CAMPUS FOR A REASON, AND IT WAS TO USE IT. YOU ALSO HAD HALLOW POINT BULLETS LOADED WHICH ARE MADE TO KILL…. IT WAS JUST A REGULAR BULLET… YOU DID NOT MISS ONE SINGLE SHOT FIRED AND AFTER YOU SHOT OUR BOYS YOU AND YOUR GROUP OF FRIENDS KICKED MY SON IN HIS HEAD WHILE HE WAS DOWN AND TOOK OFF FROM THE SCENE….
WHERE IS THE DAYUM JUSTICE SALT LAKE CITY?!? WE ARE SO SORRY TIVANI AND PAUL WE WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP FIGHTING FOR YOU “
Maile has argued that the Polynesian people must no longer be viewed as a threat. It’s not your children who are at risk, she said; it’s ours. “So this is one of the issues we want to just keep fighting for.”