Family Feud at Federal Way Old Country Buffet Ends In Blood, Chaos, and Wasted Food

OCB on a better day
From the twisted world of Tacoma (yep, we noticed you commenters are absolutely right) Federal Way crime, here's a bizarre story of two families who had beef with each other. They bit off more than they could chew and a family dinner-turned knife-fight ended in chaos. Responding police officers would note "Chairs and tables turned upside down," with "food particles, vomit, broken plates, blood, bloody clothes," littering the floor. How did this fight break out, and what really happened in the chaos?

Be warned, there are more details ahead.

The following narrative is based solely on charging documents and witness interviews with responding officers, with clarification from Tacoma News Tribune and Federal Way Mirror.


On February 26, the two large families, around twenty people in all, were eating at Old Country Buffet across from the Commons Mall in Tacoma Federal Way. It was Sunday after church, and the Perofeta family, including future victims Marcelus and Freddy, were sitting in the back dining room away from the general post-church crowd. They were dining with the Leapai's older sister and her kids.

John Leapai
The three Leapai brothers John, Joseph, and Peter came into the restaurant chatting with church friends when John saw Marcelus sitting in the back. John wasn't happy with Marcelus who, one of the Leapai's would later say, was "pimping out and abusing his sister."

The brothers had broken into his house before and messed with him because of this, so Marcelus, his family, and the Leapai's sister were already on edge when John tried to talk to his little nephew. Marcelus cut him off, John took it as an attack.

The second brother Joseph didn't like Marcelus interfering, so he stepped up started punching him. When Freddy Perofeta tried to help out his beaten brother, Joseph stopped using his fist and started using his knife.

Joseph Leapai
Joseph pulled a Cutco paring knife out of his pocket and said "I'm going to kill you and your family." Family members tried to hold all the brothers back. Joseph, with his knife still in hand, broke free stabbed Freddy twice in the leg. John and Peter each weighed over 300 lbs (of muscle, not fat). So they used that weight to fight and push away anyone who tried to help, including their own sister.

Joseph moved on to Marcus, stabbing him once in the chest and slicing him on the head before a family member managed to get him in the arm with a steak knife. Pools of blood covered the floor and smeared the walls as Joseph stopped his attack, stunned by his bloody, lacerated arm. "One of them cut me with a steak knife!" he exclaimed as he ripped off his jacket. He looked at the wound and told John and Peter he needed medical attention. Someone shouted they'd called the cops and the three brothers fled outside.

Peter Leapai
Both of the families were fighting when police arrived. Officers caught the brothers in a parking lot trying to drive off. Joseph had the bloody knife tucked into his waistband. The banquet room was in complete disarray. Tables and chairs were flipped over. The floor was littered with food, broken plates, vomit, and bloody clothing. A huge pool of blood marked the floor where the Perofeta brothers were attacked. Nearby the carpet was soaked with blood from Joseph's steak knife wound and the wall had blood streaks on it.

Marcelus and Freddy were rushed off to Harborview in critical but stable condition. All three Leapai brothers were arrested for first-degree assault. John and Joseph, the instigators, were ordered jailed in lieu of $200,000 bail while Peter, who had stayed back but still helped in the fight, was held in lieu of $50,000. The three Leapai brothers will be arraigned March 12 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

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