|July 25, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—FALEOMAVAEGA REQUESTS FBI INVESTIGATION INTO SHOOTING DEATH OF AMERICAN SAMOAN WOMAN|
| Congressman Faleomavaega
announced today that at the request of Manu’a District Governor Galea’i
Moaliitele, he has requested a full F.B.I. investigation into the shooting
death of an American Samoan woman in Zephyrhills, Florida.
“I have also brought the matter to the attention of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Florida Governor Jeb Bush,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “Several of my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, are also lending their support to this effort and I would like to thank Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek (D-FL) and Congressmen Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Gene Taylor (D-MS), Zach Wamp (R-TN), and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) for signing on to my letter requesting a full and immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Mrs. Sharlene ‘Sally’ Jones.”
“Sharlene ‘Sally’ Jones, a relative of District Governor Galea’i Moaliitele, and her husband and 15 year old daughter, were preparing to move to American Samoa. In fact, they were in the process of closing their business and were scheduled to leave for American Samoa on June 28, 2002 but Sally was shot to death on the morning of May 22, 2002 while working at her jewelry store,” Faleomavaega said.
Sally was shot and killed by a Deputy of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department. The Deputy claims that Sally was holding a gun at the time of the shooting. However, no gun has been recovered and Byron Jones who witnessed his wife’ killing reported that his wife did not have a gun in her possession.
Sally was a witness in an investigation being conducted by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. She was scheduled to be interviewed by a Board investigator the day of the shooting and questions remain as to whether there is any connection between her interview and her death.
“To date, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department and Zephyrhills Police Department have failed to make any contact with Sally’s family including her parents who believe they have information that is important to this case. What really happened on the morning of Sally’s death and why remains to be answered. Did race play a role in the Deputy’s decision to shoot the victim? Is there a connection between the Railroad Retirement Board’s investigation and Sally’s death? Why did Sally fear for her life?” Faleomavaega asked.
“There are just too many unanswered questions surrounding Sally’s death and it is simply unacceptable that local law enforcement has failed to fully investigate this senseless killing. This is a serious matter and I am hopeful that the F.B.I. will immediately investigate this case and provide Sally’s family and my office with answers that make sense,” the Congressman said. “I am also hopeful that Sally’s family will find peace and comfort in this time of sorrow. I extend my deepest condolences to Sally’s family and offer my personal assurances that I will do everything in my power to see that the circumstances surrounding Sally’s death are fully and fairly investigated,” the Congressman concluded.
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