What We Know Two Days After Shooting Death of Alfred Olango

On Tuesday, Sept, 27, 2016, the world changed drastically for many people following the death of Alfred Olango, who died as a result of a police shooting in El Cajon, California. Two investigations into the officers’ actions that day are ongoing; these are the facts thus far.

What Transpired on Sept. 27, 2016 Between El Cajon Police and Alfred Olango

Following a 911 call made by Olango’s sister who asked for help with her brother who was not acting like himself, including walking in and out of traffic, two officers responded separately. The first officer engaged Olango verbally, directing the man to take his hand out of his pant’s pocket. When Olango did not comply, the officer repeated his directives.

In the meantime, a second officer arrived at the scene and began preparing a Taser for use on Olango if he continued to ignore directives to put his hands in the air, while the first officer had his gun out and pointed at Olango. According to most accounts, Olango brought his hand out of his pocket and put his hands together in front of him, holding what turned out to be a smoking vape electronic device.

Officers at the scene report that Olango held his arms together in front of him, pointing toward the officer shouting directives and assumed a “shooting stance.” At the same time, one officer used the Taser on Olango while the other officer shot him a total of five times.

There are conflicting witness accounts that say Olango had his arms in the air when he was shot, but that has not been officially confirmed. Many initial reports indicated Olango was mentally ill, while some others indicated he was experiencing seizure activity; both of these assertions have since been disproven.

38-Year-Old Alfred Olango Came to the United States from Uganda

Alfred Olango came with his mother, Pamela Benge, and eight siblings to the United States in 1991 after living in refugee camps in Uganda. Olango had a history of trouble with the law, from receiving stolen property and a DUI in 1999 to selling cocaine in 2001, then in 2005, as a felon in possession of a 9mm handgun in a car he was driving.

Family and friends relate that Olango had since straightened out his life, studying to be a chef and hoping to open his own restaurant someday.

Court records dated in 2010 make no reference to mental illness or mental health problems, something Olango’s mother agrees with. Benge doesn’t want law enforcement painting her son as being mentally ill. What family and friends do agree on, however, is that Olango was experiencing an acute emotional reaction to the death of a friend, a man whose funeral was held the day after Olango’s death.

During a news conference on Thursday, Sept. 29, Benge said of her son, Alfred Olango:

“He did not do anything; he had no gun; he was not mental. My son is a good, loving young man. Only 38 years old; I wanted his future to be longer than that.”

The family’s attorney, Dan Gilleon of San Diego, said:

“Alfred was not mentally ill. He was going through a mental emergency – a mental breakdown – because he had lost someone he loved dearly. We all go through a bad day.”

 

The family, along with El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, have asked that protesters remain peaceful and calm as an investigation into police actions on Sept. 27 are underway.


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