Black man shot dead just after police arrived
EL CAJON (AP) – Police in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon shot and killed a black man a minute after arriving near a strip mall to investigate a report of a mentally unstable person walking in and out of traffic, an official said Wednesday.
El Cajon Police Department spokesman Lt. Rob Ransweiler said two officers arrived at the scene at about 2:10 p.m. Tuesday. Ransweiler says the shooting happened at 2:11 p.m.
He said police received the report about the mentally unstable person at 12:57 p.m. but did not immediately respond because they had other calls for service.
Police have said the man refused to comply with instructions to remove a hand from his pants pocket, paced back and forth, then rapidly drew an object from the pocket, placed both hands together and extended them in a “shooting stance.” The officers simultaneously fired a handgun and an electric stun gun.
The victim was identified as Alfred Olango, a refugee from Uganda, as dozens of demonstrators protesting his killing gathered outside the police station in El Cajon, holding signs that read “No Killer Cops!” and chanting “no justice, no peace,” and “black lives matter.”
Agnes Hassan, originally from Sudan, described Olango as an educated man with mental problems. She said she spent time in a refugee camp with Olango and that both of them suffered getting to the United States.
The man died after one El Cajon officer fired an electronic stun gun and another officer simultaneously fired his firearm several times, El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis told reporters at a news conference late Tuesday night. Davis did not describe the object, but he acknowledged it was not a weapon.
Christopher Rice-Wilson, associate director of the civil rights group Alliance San Diego, questioned why one of the officers felt non-lethal force was appropriate while the other did not. Both officers have been put on administrative leave while the incident is investigated, per department policy.
Rice-Wilson was among those who identified Olango on Wednesday. Police Lt. Rob Ransweiler said he could not confirm the victim’s name but said he was in his 30s and believed to be from Uganda.
Some protesters said Tuesday night that Olango was shot while his hands were raised in the air. Police disputed that and produced a frame from a cellphone video taken by a witness that appeared to show the man in the “shooting stance” as two officers approached with weapons drawn at a strip mall.
The fatal shooting happened just weeks after black men were shot and killed by police in Tulsa, Okla., and in Charlotte, N.C., where violent protests broke out.
Candles and flowers were left Wednesday at the shooting scene, near bloodstains on the pavement.
Olango often hung around the strip mall and at times seemed “agitated but he was never aggressive toward me,” said Vincent Hauer, who works at a nearby convenience store and some- times bought the man food or gave him a few dollars.
Davis urged the community to remain calm and said the investigation will be thorough.
“This will be transparent,” he said. “This will be looked at by multiple sets of eyes, and not just ours.”
Police said they were called to the strip mall shortly after 2 p.m. by the victim’s sister, who said he was “not acting like himself” and walking in traffic. The man refused “multiple” orders to take his hand from his pocket, then was shot after pulling out the object that authorities declined to describe, police said.
When detectives arrived, police say a female witness came forward and voluntarily provided cellphone video of the incident. Authorities released the single frame from it but not the video. El Cajon officers do not wear body cameras.
People hold signs during a protest in front of the El Cajon Police Department on Wednesday in El Cajon.