El Cajon police confirm object held by Olango was vape smoking device

EL CAJON (KUSI) — 6:31 p.m. — The El Cajon Police Department confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the object Alfred Olango was holding at the time of the shooting was a vape smoking device.

Law enforcement also answered questions regarding Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) officials and why they weren’t called to the scene. 

"The El Cajon Police Department does have an agreement with Community Research Foundation / PERT which allows certified licensed clinicians to partner with police officers in the field in order to provide direct support for mental health calls.  On 9/27/16, during the hours of this incident, there was a PERT clinician with a police officer.  At the specific time of this incident, that team was on a different radio call that was also PERT related.  They were not immediately available," according to a press release.

5:00 p.m. — Between witnesses and police, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about what actually happened Tuesday during an officer-involved police shooting in El Cajon.

On Wednesday, Mayor Wells held a press conference with the latest. 

11:00 a.m. — Police released a still frame from a video that they say shows the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of a seemingly erratic black man at an El Cajon strip mall Tuesday afternoon as the investigation continued Wednesday. 

The shooting of the man, identified as 30-year-old Alfred Olango by his sister, sparked protests from members of the public who believe the suspect’s race may have played a role.

The video of the incident was voluntarily provided by a witness and no other cell phones were gathered, El Cajon police said. The still photo provided by police shows a man in a shooting stance, though no firearm was recovered.

"Investigators are reviewing the video and other video recovered from the scene.  All video recovered so far in this investigation clearly shows the incident as described [in the police report]," El Cajon police said.

The sequence of events that led to his death began about 2:10 p.m. when officers were sent to check out a report of a pedestrian behaving erratically and walking in traffic. They came into contact with the man behind a restaurant and he allegedly refused multiple commands to remove his hand from in his pocket, said El Cajon police Capt. Frank LaHaye.

"Because the subject did not comply, the officer drew his firearm and pointed it at the subject while continuing to give him instructions to remove his hand from his pocket," LaHaye said in a statement.

The officers attempted to talk to the man while he paced back and forth, but he then "rapidly 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," according to the lieutenant.

One officer fired his service weapon at the man several times and a second officer deployed a Taser. Bystanders reported hearing about five shots. Olongo died in the hospital Tuesday.

The officers, each with more than 20 years of service, will be placed on administrative leave for at least three days, as per protocol, El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis told reporters at a news conference Tuesday night. He promised a thorough and transparent multi-agency investigation.

Several witnesses said the officers were unduly quick to open fire and suggested their actions were influenced by the fact they were dealing with a black man, one they described as mentally challenged. One man told reporters at the news conference that the victim had suffered a seizure just prior to the
shooting, and another said he had his hands raised at the moment the shots sounded.

A crowd of about 30 protesters gathered at the shopping center and later took their demonstration to police headquarters. Many of them shouted about
what they characterized as a racially motivated police shooting, and others took part in impromptu prayer circles.

Some purported witnesses also alleged that cell phones were confiscated from bystanders at the scene. LaHaye said no phones were taken other than the one that was voluntarily turned over by an employee at a nearby restaurant.

"This was the only phone provided to officers in this investigation," LaHaye said. "No other phones were taken from witnesses."

Police officials also said via Twitter that no phones were confiscated from anyone at the scene and asked the public to "be careful about reacting to
inaccurate information."

However accurate, the reports prompted a response from the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties. Its executive director, Norma Chavez-Peterson, noted that confiscating witnesses’ phones violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution

"The public has the right to film police in public places, and police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photos or video without a warrant," Chavez-Peterson said. "Under no circumstances may police officers delete your photos or videos."

She said the agency would be "paying close attention as the details of this situation unfold."

Police asked that anyone with additional information contact them at (619) 579-3311. Individuals with information on this incident who wish to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (888) 580-8477.

Categories: Local San Diego News