El Cajon Police Kill Unarmed Black Man
A Black man reportedly acting erratically at a strip mall in El Cajon, Calif., was shot and killed by police after his sister reportedly called for their help in the third high profile police-involved shooting in less than two weeks of Black men that were either unarmed or that family members maintain were unarmed.
Terence Crutcher, 40, was killed by Tulsa, Okla., police on Sept. 16, and Keith Lamont Scott, 43, died at the hands of Charlotte N.C., police on Sept. 20. Like both of those shootings, this latest one elicited angry protests.
The man in El Cajon, about 15 miles northeast of San Diego, was identified as Alfred Olongo, 30, according to published reports. He was described as mentally ill and had a breakdown just prior to the shooting. Police say he was walking in traffic and was eventually spotted behind a restaurant by two officers, but he did not comply with orders to remove a hand concealed in his pocket. One officer drew a firearm, as they continued to talk to him.
Olango drew an object from the pocket, pointing at an officer in what appeared to be a shooting stance. At a Tuesday night news conference, Police Chief Jeff Davis would not say what the object was, but acknowledged it was not a weapon. One officer discharged a taser at Olango, while the other fired his weapon several times, striking the suspect.
Before police announced the death, dozens of protesters gathered at the shooting scene, with some claiming the man was shot with his hands raised. Police disputed that and produced a frame from cellphone video taken by a witness that appeared to show the man in the “shooting stance” as two officers approached with weapons drawn.
When detectives arrived police say a female witness came forward and voluntarily provided cellphone video of the incident. Authorities did not release the video, only the single frame from it. El Cajon officers do not wear body cameras. In one video, a woman who said she is Olango’s sister is seen crying in the aftermath of the shooting.
“I just called for help, and you came and killed him,” she said.
The El Cajon protest was angry but peaceful. Several dozen people, most of them Black, gathered and some cursed at officers guarding the scene. They chanted “Black lives matter!” and “hands up, don’t shoot!”
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.”
The district attorney was on scene and also will investigate.
Michael Ray Rodriguez was among the witnesses who said the man had his hands in the air. He said that he was driving out of his apartment complex past the shooting scene and saw a shirtless black man with his hands raised.
The officer “let go of the trigger and shot him again and again,” Rodriguez told the San Diego Union-Tribune.