New Orleans, LA – A career criminal who attacked a tourist in the Big Easy last week clearly had no idea he had picked the wrong mother from whom to snatch a purse.
The incident occurred on Dec. 28 shortly after Masina Tupea and her family arrived in New Orleans on vacation, HNN reported.
Tupea is a graduate of the Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii and a nationally-ranked weightlifter.
She set a national record with her 320-pound deadlift, according to HNN.
Tupea said her family was walking to dinner on the sidewalk when a man suddenly attacked her mother.
“That’s when this guy just comes running and he straight-up punches my mom right in the face and she drops immediately,” the athlete told HNN.
“My dad yelled, ‘Masina, he just hit your mom and took her purse. Go get him!’” she recalled.
The athlete wasted no time in chasing down the fleeing bandit who had just snatched her mother’s purse, HNN reported.
“I don’t really think that he anticipated that I would be running after him,” Tupea said.
She said she easily caught up with the purse snatcher who police have since identified as 36-year-old Augustus Taylor, HNN reported.
But when Tupea confronted the man who attacked her mother, Taylor was ready to fight and he hit her in the face.
“I got up. I’m stumbling,” she told HNN. “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 like essentially threw him under the car and pinned him to the ground.”
The power lifter said the alleged purse snatcher begged her to let him up and to let him go, HNN reported.
“’How dare you?’ I’m yelling in the street,” Tupea said. “You messed with the wrong family. You messed with the wrong family.”
She held Taylor down until police arrived to take him into custody, HNN reported.
He was arrested at the scene.
Tupea’s mother suffered a dislocated jaw in the attack by Taylor and her daughter ended up with a black eye after her fight with the purse snatcher, HNN reported.
Police said that Taylor is a career criminal with a lengthy list of arrests and convictions.
Tupea, a student at Johnston and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, said she didn’t encourage people to fight their attackers but also said that they shouldn’t give up, HNN reported.
“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,” she explained.