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Authorities in a San Diego suburb have released cellphone and business surveillance footage of a fatal police shooting that claimed the life of Alfred Olango. Officers in El Cajon responded to a 911 call at around 2:10pm on Tuesday regarding a claim that Olango was walking through traffic and acting unusual. According to NBC News, that call allegedly came from his sister.
The 38-year-old reportedly refused to take his hands out of his pockets, then proceeded to brandish a vape smoking device, which may have been mistaken for a weapon. Shortly after, the unarmed Olango was fatally shot by Officer Richard Gonsalves. Olango was then tased by Officer Josh McDaniel. Both officers are veterans on the force, having each served for 21 years.
The shooting spawned massive protests in the San Diego metropolitan area. El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis met with fellow law enforcement officials from around the area on Friday, choosing to release the footage for the sake of public interest sooner rather than later.
Though there has been speculation that Olango had suffered from mental health disorders, his mother told the San Diego Union-Tribune that her son was simply incredibly upset over the death of his best friend.
The Ugandan immigrant had overcome incredible obstacles to leave his war-torn home, escape the brutality of refugee camps, and eventually make his way to San Diego with his family. A high school dropout, Olango faced difficulties in his early adulthood that culminated in a yearlong jail sentence for cocaine peddling.
A felony possession conviction would send Olango to prison and put him on probation for three years. At the time of his conviction, he was living in Colorado, desperately trying to turn his life around. He appeared to have found stability in Arizona.
By the time Olango had returned to Southern California, he’d fought his demons and seemingly won, honing his culinary skills at a Glendale, Arizona steakhouse before eventually returning to the San Diego area, where he was working as a cook at Hooter’s. It was his dream to serve Ugandan specialities in a restaurant of his own. Olango leaves behind two daughters.
A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.