Man killed by officer pointed vaping device
For a second consecutive night, protesters gathered Wednesday in El Cajon, California, holding signs and demanding accountability following an officer-involved shooting of an unarmed black man.
Alfred Okwera Olango, 38, pulled a vape smoking device from his pocket and pointed it at police before one officer fatally shot him and another discharged a Taser, El Cajon Police said.
His death set off demonstrations in the San Diego suburb as activists demanded that authorities release video of the shooting. They also want a federal probe into Olango’s death.
Some protesters threw water bottles at police while others gathered in the street and parking lot where the shooting happened. Many held signs saying “black lives matter” as police wearing helmets with shields looked on.
Police have released little information except for a still photograph showing Olango in what authorities described as a “shooting stance,” facing off with the two officers in a parking lot.
By Wednesday evening, police identified the object as a the vaping device. The identity of one of the officers was revealed as Richard Gonsalves, a 21-year veteran of the force.
In a news conference, Mayor Bill Wells did not identify the second officer, except to say he was also a 21-year veteran of the force.
Wells said he understood the frustration of demonstrators, who blocked a freeway exit for a period of time on Wednesday.
The protests were “angry and loud” but peaceful, he said.
“It’s their First Amendment right,” he said. “I understand that they don’t feel heard. I understand that they’re wanting more information.”
Wells said he had seen the video and that it pained him. But he called for patience as the investigation runs its course.
“I saw a man who was distraught, a man who was acting in ways that looked like he was in great pain, and I saw him get gunned down and killed and it broke my heart,” he said. “If it was my son, I would be devastated.”
On Tuesday afternoon, El Cajon Police responded to a 911 call reporting an black man in his 30s who was behaving “erratically” behind a restaurant at the Broadway Village Shopping Center, Lt. Rob Ransweiler said.
According to the call, the man was “not acting like himself” and had been walking in traffic, endangering himself and motorists, Police Chief Jeff Davis said.