Man behaving ‘erratically’ fatally shot by El Cajon police near San Diego
UPDATE: The man has been identified as Alfred Olango.
El Cajon Police confirmed that they shot a man in a San Diego-area parking lot on Tuesday after he allegedly failed to follow orders while reportedly acting strangely. However, a woman on the scene who claimed to be his sister is saying that she was the one who called the police, because her brother needed medical attention, NBC-owned local channel KNSD reported.
Officers responded to an erratic subject that ended with an officer involved shooting. We will post updates here as they are available.— El Cajon Police (@elcajonpolice) September 27, 2016
The man was hospitalized and left in a critical condition, according to Fox-affiliate KSWB. However, while his name and current condition have not been made public at this time, his sister told reporters that her brother died at the scene. The American Civil Liberties Union later confirmed the man died, but did not specify where and when.
EL Cajon Police Department spokesman Rob Ransweiler told reporters that officers had been responding to a call about an “erratic subject” who was claimed to be walking into traffic.
A witness who lives nearby told KNSD that he saw police officers surround a black man with their guns drawn. He described the man as seeming fearful and lurching to the side with his hands up before being shot five times by the police. A second witness claimed to have seen the same thing.
However, an employee at the restaurant of the parking lot where the confrontation took place claimed to have recorded the entire incident. Her manager told KNSD that she had seen the video and heard police instruct the victim to remove his hands from his hip.
It is not known whether his hands were in his pockets, pants or just on his hip. The video allegedly also showed the victim’s sister pleading for her brother to cooperate. Police have viewed the video and interviewed the employee.
An additional witness was recorded in a Facebook Live video saying that the sister was pleading with her brother to take his hands out of his pockets and when he did, “he did have something in his hand but it wasn’t a gun.”
Statements made by the sister to reporters also imply that her brother was not showing his hands. His sister was recorded crying “He’s so sick” in a Facebook Live video posted by another woman on the scene.
Other videos show her asking police, “Why couldn’t you guys tase him? Why, why, why? I told you he’s sick.”
“I called you to help me but you killed my brother,” she also said.
It remains unknown whether the man was armed. When Ransweiler was questioned about it, he told KNSD, “I have the information, I’m just not…It’s an ongoing investigation, so I’m not releasing details of the investigation.”
The shooting is not the only El Cajon police action under scrutiny. Employees at the nearby Los Panchos restaurant claimed that police confiscated cell phones from employees and advised them to not talk to anyone about the shooting.
The ACLU has released a statement saying, “there are disturbing reports from a number of witnesses that police officers confiscated cell phones from people who witnessed the shooting. Confiscating cell phones is a violation of the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable seizure without warrant or exigent circumstance) and the First Amendment (interference with the right to record in public) under the U.S. Constitution and analogous rights under the California Constitution.”
El Cajon Police have denied confiscating cellphones and urged the community to "please be careful about reacting to inaccurate information."
We ask that the community please be careful about reacting to inaccurate information. No phones were confiscated from anyone at the scene.— El Cajon Police (@elcajonpolice) September 28, 2016
Many people claim that the man was having or had recently had a seizure when he was shot. While there has been no official statement on his health or condition at the time of the shooting, confusion and unresponsiveness can occur after a grand mal seizure.
El Cajon Police Department announced that they would have a press release “soon.” While they are yet to release any information about the incident, including the man’s name and condition, they did write a tweet saying “the subject did NOT have his hands up in the air.”
The investigation just started, but based on the video voluntarily provided by a witness, the subject did NOT have his hands up in the air— El Cajon Police (@elcajonpolice) September 28, 2016
Protesters have gathered at the scene of the shooting.