In the third police shooting in less than two weeks of a Black man who was either unarmed or who family members maintain was unarmed, El Cajon, Calif., police killed a man who was reportedly acting erractically after his sister reportedly called for help.
The man 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, police said. At a Tuesday night news conference, El Cajon 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.
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, which they say shows Olango in the shooting stance. El Cajon officers do not wear body cameras. Other videos of the incident have surfaced on social media. 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.
Before police announced the death, dozens of protesters gathered at the shooting scene, with some claiming the man was shot with his hands raised, but police disputed that.
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.
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.