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Vape Pen, Not Weapon Found on Scene in San Diego Shooting of Unarmed Black Man

El Cajon officers shot to death a mentally ill man after his sister called police for help.

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The photos only tell part of the story. A black man holds his hands extended before his body. One officer fires his stun gun. The other, his service weapon. The victim’s sister screams in agony as her brother lie upon the hot blacktop pavement as Santa Ana winds blow in from the east. No weapon was found on the man.

Police opened fire on 30-year-old Alfred Olango after his sister called 911, stating her brother, who was mentially ill, “was not acting like himself.” 

She cried: “Why couldn’t you tase him? I told you he is sick. And you guys shot him. I called police to help him, not to kill him.”

"The male subject paced back and forth while the officers tried to talk to him," El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said. "At one point, the male rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together on it, extended it rapidly towards the officer, taking what appeared to be a shooting stance, putting the object in the officer's face."

Television news footage of the crime scene showed the object appears to be a vaporizer pen and battery lying in the parking lot beside an evidence marker. On Tuesday, mourners and demonstrators gathered at the site of the black man’s death. “It’s just systematic genocide,” one said of officer involved shootings. 

 

The shooting transpires at a time when the US is engulfed in police shootings of unarmed men, such as last week's killing of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte and in Tulsa where an officer was charged in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed. 

One officer involved, Sgt. Richard Gonsalves, has a controversial history with the El Cajon police department, which has just two stars on Yelp!: he’s been accused of sending photos of his genitalia to women in the department. 

"It's a personnel matter,” ECPD Chief Jim Redman said at the time. “The individuals involved still work for this department, but I just want to let you know that we have a zero tolerance for any harassment of any kind, and that we investigated that particular incident thoroughly and that our conclusions, or the actions we took, were based on the facts of the case, but because it's a personnel matter I can't go into the details." As Tuesday’s shooting illustrates, Gonsalves remained on the force. 

Then officer Christine Greer, in a lawsuit last year, alleged sexual discrimination within the department, citing no female sergeants or management in the department. 

A white board in the El Cajon Police Department briefing room revealed last year implied a quota system was in use at the department.  Officers, according to sources, receive gifts from Starbucks and other places for their arrests. The police-chief denied this, calling it a “team-building” exercise.