Maui man recuperates
from sword intervention

KIHEI, Maui >> Asitamani Tupola said he was standing at a counter in a crowded Longs Drug Store in Kihei on Tuesday when a man came up to the cashier counter wielding a sword and demanding cigarettes.

"I feel like I had to do something," said Tupola, fearing the man might hurt the female cashier and other customers.

Tupola, 28, a hotel security guard, said he challenged the man to a fight to get him outside and away from people.

But Tupola paid a price for his action -- a slice by the sword to his left temple that required 12 stitches. He was treated and released from a local clinic.

Police say Casey S. Nies, the homeless man who struck Tupola, was shot by an officer after he tried to attack the officer minutes later in the rear parking lot of Ace Hardware.

Nies, 30, recuperating at Maui Memorial Medical Center, faces charges of first- and second-degree attempted murder and first-degree robbery.

Tupola, a Kihei resident, said he had gone to the store to get fishing equipment and was waiting for his credit card to be processed by the cashier.

He said a man who was carrying a backpack asked for cigarettes and was told by the cashier to stand in the back of the line. Tupola said the man walked away and came back wielding the sword.

Tupola said he lured the man outside by verbally baiting him. He said that as they went outside, the man said he wanted to kill him. He said the man appeared to have two to four swords and refused to drop the sword.

Tupola said he felt fortunate to have been wearing a hat that slowed the sword's blow.

"Without my hat, I think it was going to be a deep cut," he said.

He said the encounter had brought to mind his sisters, who also work in stores, and Tupola said he'd intervene again in the conflict because the man was threatening a cashier, who was a woman.

"It's a girl, you know," he said. "Pick on somebody your own size."


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