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‘He messed with the wrong family’: Hawaii teen takes down mugger in the Big Easy

Masina Tupea and her family had just arrived in New Orleans last Tuesday. They were on their way to dinner when they encountered trouble.
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 7:12 AM HST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2022 at 7:13 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Masina Tupea and her family had just arrived in New Orleans last Tuesday. They were on their way to dinner when they encountered trouble.

“That’s when this guy just comes running and he punches my mom right in the face and she drops immediately. My dad yelled to me to go after the guy,” said Tupea.

Adrenaline pumping, the Punahou graduate, who set a national deadlifting record of nearly 320 pounds, went after him.

“I don’t think he was anticipating me going after him,” Tupea said.

Masina says they struggled and the man punched her in the face.

“I got up. I’m stumbling. I can’t see out of my left eye and I tackled him and he tries to tackle me into this car first ... but I essentially threw him under the car and pinned him to the ground,” said Tupea. “He asked me to let him go, but I kept telling him that he messed with the wrong family.”

Police arrested and charged 36-year-old Augustus Taylor, a career criminal.

Masina’s mom suffered a dislocated jaw. Masina had a black eye.

The athlete has since been called a hero countless times, but Masina says it’s what she learned growing up in Hawaii.

“If you get hit, get back up. That was something that felt really important to me, is that that importance of getting back up again,” said Tupea.

Masina isn’t encouraging people to fight back, but she says you should always remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. She plans to enjoy her last week in Hawaii before heading to Johnston and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

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