Black man fatally shot by El Cajon Police was unarmed, pointing e-cigarette

Protesters gather along Broadway Avenue to protest the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man on Tuesday by officers in El Cajon, California, U.S. September 28, 2016 © Sandy Huffaker
An “erratically” behaving black man, fatally shot by El Cajon Police after he refused to comply with orders, was actually pointing a 4-inch-long e-cigarette at police, it has been revealed.

The man, thought to be mentally ill, was later identified as Alfred Olango, a 38-year-old refugee from Uganda with a US felony record of drug and weapon offenses.

Police killed Olango a minute after arriving at the scene to check out a report of a mentally unstable person “not acting like himself” and walking in and out of traffic. According to police, the man refused to comply with “multiple instructions” from the first officer on the scene to remove his “concealed hand” from his pants pocket. The second officer who arrived on the scene “immediately prepared to deploy a less-lethal electronic control device while the other officer covered,” police said.

The subject paced back and forth, then all of a sudden drew an object from his front pants pocket, “placed both hands together and extended them rapidly toward the officer taking up what appeared to be a shooting stance.” The officers simultaneously fired a handgun and a stun gun.

It turned out that the suspicious object that Olango drew from his pants pocket and pointed at the officer was “a vape smoking device,” El Cajon police said in a press release. The electronic cigarette was collected as evidence from the scene, according to the statement

The killing of the unarmed black man triggered a wave of protests. Demonstrators gathered outside the El Cajon Police headquarters on Wednesday, chanting “no killer cops” and “black lives matter.”

A woman, thought to be Olango’s sister, is quoted in a YouTube video as saying that her brother had mental problems, and that she telephoned authorities several times to help her subdue him. 

“You guys killed my brother,” she cries desperately, unable to hold back tears.

Another woman, Agnes Hassan, told AP she had spent some time with Olango in a refugee camp, describing him as well-educated but mentally ill.

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said that the two officers who answered the call about a mentally unstable person only had basic training to deal with people with similar problems.

He said the department usually tries to send out officers who have received specialized mental health training to handle calls like this, but none were available Tuesday afternoon, AP reported