Reformed Tongan ex-gang leader shot dead in Hawai‘i

A former gang leader who spent time in prison before he turned his life around and ended up receiving a Master’s degree from the University of Hawai’i was shot dead in Aiea, Honolulu.

45-year-old Malakai Maumalanga was killed in his residence on March 29.

Kaniva News reports his funeral and visitation services have yet to be announced.

Witnesses reportedly said one, maybe two suspects were involved in the shooting. No further details were available, the Hawai’ian Star Advertiser reported.

The ex-gang leader, who was also goes by the name of Mo, has been described as heavily involved with gang while “he was 13 years-old … and very angry, very violent.”

He was jailed when he was 18 for a drive-by shooting.

That journey takes him to the stage to receive a master’s degree in social work.

“I didn’t realize how far I came until right after finals then I realized I’m getting my masters”, Hawai’i News Now reported Maumalanga as saying.

Maumalanga was such a success story that he was hired by Adult Friends for Youth in 2002 and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

At the time of his death, he directly reported to Deborah Spencer­-Chun, his former Adult Friends for Youth counselor.

“We worry about all the kids that we work with. Mo was no different,” Spencer-­Chun told the Star-Advertiser on Sunday.

For the last 20 years, Mo has been giving back – working at Adult Friends for Youth, the Hawai’ian Khon2 reported.

“His passion was helping other kids who were just like him get a better future”, the paper said.

Police have opened a murder investigation.

No arrests have yet been made.