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Victims recount being targeted on Oahu freeway

May 8, 2013

HONOLULU - Amie Lou Asuncion recalled running across a Honolulu freeway after being shot in the back while driving in 2011, and then hiding in some plants because she feared the shooter was following her.

Asuncion testified Tuesday in the murder trial of Toby Stangel, a pastor's son accused of going on a highway shooting rampage, killing a mother of 10. Prosecutors say Stangel shot and wounded Asuncion and a man and then fired at two police officers during the early-morning shooting spree June 3, 2011.

"I see a car in my rearview, and he suddenly changes lanes on my left side," Asuncion said. "When he changed lanes, he just started shooting at me." Her window shattered, she said, and it felt like she got hit.

She stopped her pickup truck, jumped over the center median and ran on the other side of the freeway, Asuncion testified. She heard two shots and then jumped into some plants along the highway, where she waited for 20 to 30 minutes.

"I thought he followed me there," she said.

Meanwhile, Samson Naupoto was driving along the freeway when he saw Asuncion running across the lanes, he testified. He tried to roll down his window, wanting to offer some help. Suddenly, he couldn't press on the gas, he recalled.

"I feel the numbness in my leg," he said. "I feel the blood going down my right-side thigh."

A daughter of the woman who was killed testified Monday, describing how they were waiting at an intersection when someone started shooting at their van. Cindy Nguyen, the youngest of Tammy Nguyen's 10 children, pointed to Stangel, identifying him as the shooter.

Stangel's defense attorney, John Schum, said before the trial resumed Tuesday that he hasn't decided whether his client will testify in his defense. Schum said he doesn't dispute that Stangel committed the shootings, but the prosecution needs to prove intent to convict him of murder.



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