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Fijian shot after chase

Shalveen Chand
Monday, April 28, 2014

A FORMER Fijian soldier living in the US was shot in the arms after he allegedly fired on police officers following a high-speed chase.

Sevanaia Lauakilagi Bainimarama, 39, of Smithfield in Idaho, was charged with attempted murder of police officers and was kept in custody after a court appearance last Monday.

He is reported to have also struck a deer during the police pursuit where he tried to run over the two police officers at the end of the chase in Smithfield, police said.

Mr Bainimarama's cousin in Fiji, Inoke Bainimarama, said from what he had heard Sevanaia was doing well.

The Tribune Review and The Herald Standard reported that Mr Bainimarama fired a weapon at two officers during the 19-minute pursuit and then asked for a beer as he underwent treatment for gunshot wounds in an ambulance.

Mr Bainimarama was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, fleeing police and running stop signs.

In the complaint, Trooper Timothy Kirsch said two Uniontown police officers, Kurtis DeFoor and Elliott Fejes, tried to stop Mr Bainimarama's Nissan Pathfinder as it went through two stop signs at Pershing Court and Dunlap Street on April 20.

Mr Bainimarama is accused of firing at the pursuing patrol car.

The police pursuit ended when Mr Bainimarama drove onto a dead-end street in Smithfield, turned around and tried to run over the officers, police said.

When police got out of their patrol car on the dead-end street with their weapons drawn and ordered Mr Bainimarama to surrender, he instead accelerated toward them. Officer DeFoor said Bainimarama "gunned it" and "dust was flying" as the SUV "came right at us" .

The two officers "fired their duty weapons at the suspect vehicle in fear of their life," Kirsch said.

Mr Bainimarama, who had gunshot wounds to both arms and his right hand, was taken into custody.

According to reports quoting Officer Kirsch, as they waited for an ambulance, Mr Bainimarama told a police officer he had no intention of stopping during the pursuit.

Mr Bainimarama was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, according to reports.

He appeared in court the next day and placed in the Fayette County Prison in lieu of $300,000 bond.

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