Bloods gang killers of innocent Tongan man sentenced in Auckland

Two Bloods gang members have been sentenced this morning after the tragic death of a Tongan man in Auckland, New Zealand in May last year.

Samuela Anania Tupou. Photo/Supplied

Janeiro Tapusoa, 28, pleaded guilty to murder one month before the three-week jury trial last year. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years and one month.

Leroy Tinei, 27, was found guilty of murder at trial, and has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years and four months.

Tupou’s family attended today’s sentencing, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Tupou was shot and killed by Tapusoa early on Saturday, May 25 at Seaside Park, while he socialised with his cousin and friends. He was wearing a blue singlet, and blue is associated with the Crips gang, but Tupou was not part of any gang.

A member of rival gang Bloods, Tapusoa was on the hunt for Crips members – known as “searching for crabs”. Tinei was driving the car.

Tupou approached the car the two men were in. He was shot in the chest, top right thigh and back. The men fled in the car as Tupou fell to ground, where he died.

Crown lawyer Kristy Li said Tapusoa shot three bullets at close range from the passenger seat of the car. Tupou was understood to be half a metre away from the passenger window – a random, unarmed victim shot without any warning, she told the courtroom.

“I do not consider there was anything aggressive about Tupou as he approached the Mazda,” said Justice Walker.

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