An unarmed black man fatally shot by police in El Cajon, Calif., Tuesday pointed a vape smoking device at them
By Melanie Eversley | September 29th, 2016
police said in a statement Wednesday night.
Police also positively identified the man as Alfred Okwera Olango, the name under which he has been identified by some media organizations. He was 38-years-old, based on information they received from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, and not 30, as was indicated by police initially.
Police shot and killed Olango in this suburb of San Diego after responding to a call of a man behaving erratically and walking in traffic.
The vape smoking device had a silver cylinder that was three inches long and one inch wide, police said. The electronic cigarette was collected as evidence from the scene, according to the statement.
Police also said that members of the police agency’s Psychiatric Emergency Response Team may accompany police on calls, but the team was on a different call and not available when police responded to the call regarding Olango.
Tensions in the Southern California community erupted after initial reports of the shooting. A woman identifying herself as Olango’s sister is quoted on a YouTube video as saying that her brother suffered mental challenges and that she telephoned authorities three times to help her in subduing him. The woman, who is not identified by name, has told reporters that her brother was walking in traffic.
“They shouldn’t have called police — they should have called crisis communications,” the woman is heard saying on the video as she sits on a curb, her head in her hands. The ambulance carrying the man has already driven away, without her.
“They just killed him,” she said, weeping.
Police said in an update published via Twitter Wednesday night that one witness voluntarily stepped forward to offer cell phone video they’d recorded during the incident. No one was ever instructed to hand over cell phones in the aftermath, according to the update. Immediately after first reports of the shooting, one news organization reported that nearby witnesses had been ordered to hand over their cell phones.
Protesters were marching Wednesday afternoon in the area of the shooting, the El Cajon Police Department said via Twitter, asking members of the public to avoid that area.
Police did not respond to a message left Wednesday on the cellphone of the department’s public information officer.
The San Diego district attorney’s office is investigating the shooting, as it does with all officer-involved shootings, agency public affairs officer Tanya Sierra told USA TODAY in an email.
Late Tuesday night local time, El Cajon police released a statement saying police responded shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday to calls of a man who was “not acting like himself.”
“The subject refused multiple instructions by the first officer on scene to remove his concealed hand from his pocket,” the statement read.
That officer drew his gun, according to the statement.
A second officer arrived on the scene with an electronic stun gun and the man paced while both officers attempted to talk to him.
El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said at a news conference: “At one point the male rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together on it and extended it rapidly towards the officer taking what appeared to be a shooting stance, putting the object in the officer’s face,” El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis told reporters.
According to the police statement, the second officer fired several times.
Officers are reviewing the video, Davis said.
One man who said he was a witness, and who is seen on video posted on Twitter by aSan Diego Union-Tribune reporter, says the shooting victim had his hands up when police shot him.
El Cajon police, however, said via Twitter that preliminary investigation indicates the man’s hands were not up at the time of the incident.
This is the third police-involved shooting of a black man that has grabbed national attention in the past two weeks. Earlier shootings of Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte have spurred emotional protests.
Olango was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego after the shooting, various media reported, but that hospital said it could only give out information regarding current patients.
The San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office did not respond to a telephone message.