Tongan ex-gang leader who later becomes university graduate shot dead in Hawai‘i

A former gang leader who spent time in prison before he turned his life around and ended up receiving a Master’s degree from the University of Hawai’i was shot dead in Aiea, Honolulu.

Malakai Maumalanga

The 45-year-old Malakai Maumalanga was killed in his residence on March 29. His funeral and visitation services have yet to be announced.

Witnesses reportedly said one, maybe two suspects were involved in the shooting. No further details were available, the Hawai’ian Star Advertiser reported.

The ex-gang leader, who was also goes by the name of Mo, has been described as heavily involved with gang while “he was 13 years-old … and very angry, very violent.”

He was jailed when he was 18 for a drive-by shooting.

That journey takes him to the stage to receive a master’s degree in social work.

“I didn’t realize how far I came until right after finals then I realized I’m getting my masters”, Hawai’i News Now reported Maumalanga as saying.

Maumalanga was such a success story that he was hired by Adult Friends for Youth in 2002 and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

At the time of his death, he directly reported to Deborah Spencer­-Chun, his former Adult Friends for Youth counselor.

“We worry about all the kids that we work with. Mo was no different,” Spencer-­Chun told the Star-Advertiser on Sunday.

For the last 20 years, Mo has been giving back – working at Adult Friends for Youth, the Hawai’ian Khon2 reported.

“His passion was helping other kids who were just like him get a better future”, the paper said.

Police have opened a murder investigation.

No arrests have yet been made.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news