2 charged in attack on officer


POSTED: Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Two brothers were recently charged with allegedly assaulting an off-duty police officer Saturday on Maui with baseball bats.

Police identified them as Leonard Sauceda Jr., 42, and Steven Sauceda, 38, also known as Steven R. Frederick. Both were charged Sunday with second-degree attempted murder. The elder Sauceda is being held in lieu of $230,000 bail, while the younger Sauceda is being held in lieu of $235,000 bail.

Their preliminary hearing was to be held at 2 p.m. today.

About 11 p.m. Saturday, the officer, who was with his wife, saw a 15-year-old boy damaging mailboxes on Kahekili Highway next to Waihee Park. He confronted the juvenile, who was with two other teens; his 14-year-old brother and 16-year-old female cousin.

A fight broke out between the officer and the teens when Steven Sauceda, father of the 16-year-old girl, who lives nearby, arrived and allegedly hit the officer with a baseball bat, according to Lt. John Jacubczak of the Maui Police Department.

Leonard Sauceda received a call from a relative that his sons were involved in a fight. He drove to the site and allegedly hit the officer with another baseball bat.

The police officer, a 19-year veteran of the Maui Police Department, was struck several times and suffered numerous abrasions, bruises and cuts to his head and body. He was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center by ambulance in serious condition and released after he was upgraded to stable condition. The officer's wife suffered minor injuries after one of the juvenile males allegedly threw a large rock at her, said Jacubczak.

According to criminal court records, the older Sauceda has five misdemeanor convictions that include abuse of a household member. The younger Sauceda has two felony convictions involving drug-related offenses and seven misdemeanor convictions that include criminal contempt and criminal trespassing.

The mother of the two boys was at the scene and not involved in the fight, but was arrested and charged for an outstanding warrant that involved a probation violation.

Police arrested the three teens on suspicion of first-degree attempted murder. The reason for the more serious accusation were not immediately clear.

The two boys were transported to a juvenile detention center on Oahu, while the 16-year-old girl was released to her mother.