Alfred Olango killed by police in El Cajon California
The shooting of Alfred Olango occurred in El Cajon, California, United States on September 27, 2016. Olango, a 38-year old former refugee from Uganda, was shot several times by police responding to a call for emergency psychiatric aid. He died later that day in a hospital. Officers on scene claimed to have believed Olango was pointing a firearm; the object in his hand was an e-cigarette. The shooting sparked days of protests in El Cajon and around San Diego County.
San Diego County prosecutors declined to file charges against officers Josh McDaniel and Richard Gonsalves, who were involved in the shooting.
Alfred Olango arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Uganda in 1991.
Days before the incident, one of Olango’s longtime childhood friends died. On the day of the incident, Olango’s sister noticed strange behavior from him and called police three times asking for immediate help. A 5150 (involuntary psychiatric hold) request for a psychiatric emergency response team (PERT) was placed. Fifty minutes after the first call, at least two non-PERT officers arrived on scene.
Officer Richard Gonsalves fired his handgun four times at Olango, and officer Josh McDaniel fired his Taser.
In video footage released by the El Cajon Police Department, two uniformed police officers with drawn weapons can be seen approaching Olango. In the video, Olango is retreating into a corner formed by a fence and an unoccupied parked truck. Olango’s sister can be seen approaching behind the police officers. Seconds later, gunshots are heard and Olango falls to the ground. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital later that day.
According to the El Cajon Police Department’s statement on the evening of the shooting, Olango was simultaneously tasered and shot several times by the two officers. They said Olango refused to comply with instructions to remove one concealed hand from a pocket, paced back and forth, 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”. Officers claimed to have believed that Olango was pointing a handgun at officers, in which the object was a vape pen which was pointed towards the officers with the tip facing.
Footage of Olango’s shooting was released by the El Cajon Police Department on September 30, 2016. There have been two videos of the shooting that were recorded and released to the public, one from a bystander inside a Mexican restaurant and the other from the restaurant’s drive-thru surveillance camera.
In January 2017, San Diego County District’s Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that no criminal charges would be filed against officers Richard Gonsalves and Josh McDaniel.
The ACLU has criticized the El Cajon Police Department’s partial release of video evidence. On the evening of the incident, a single still frame image from the cellphone footage was released.