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Killing of Alfred Olango

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Shooting of Alfred Olango
DateSeptember 27, 2016 (2016-09-27)
Time2:10 p.m. (PST)
LocationEl Cajon, California, U.S.
Filmed byA bystander in a restaurant and the restaurant's drive-thru camera
ParticipantsEl Cajon police officers
DeathsAlfred Olango
ChargesNone filed

On September 27, 2016, Alfred Olango, a 38-year old former refugee from Uganda, was shot and killed by police responding to a 911 call occurred in El Cajon, California, United States. 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.[1][2]

San Diego County prosecutors declined to file charges against officers who were involved in the shooting.

Alfred Olango[edit]

Alfred Olango arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Uganda in 1991.[3][4]

Born in Kampala, Uganda in 1978, Olango came to New York with his mother and eight siblings as refugees in 1991.[5] He married in 2001, having one child with his wife at the time.[5] He worked at Toro manufacturing and McDonald's, and he hoped to one day open his own restaurant.[5]


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.[6]

Video evidence[edit]

In video footage released by the El Cajon Police Department, two uniformed police officers 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, Olango drew an object and extended it in two hands towards police in a shooting stance before being shot. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital later that day.[7]

Police statement[edit]

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".[8] 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. Ultimately, a civil jury unanimously believed this version of events.


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.[citation needed]

In January 2017, San Diego County District's Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that no criminal charges would be filed against the two officers.[9]

Civil Trial[edit]

On July 31, 2019 a jury in San Diego County Superior Court voted 12-0 that the shooting of Olango was proper. The jury found that the officer who shot Olango was not negligent. Officer Gonsalves and the City of El Cajon were represented by Mitch Dean, now with the firm of Dean Gazzo Roistacher LLP in Solana Beach, CA.


The American Civil Liberties Union (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.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "El Cajon: Second night of protests after police shooting". CNN. September 28, 2016.
  2. ^ Blake, Mike. "El Cajon, California, sees fifth day of protests over police shooting". Reuters. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  3. ^ Authorities tried twice to deport unarmed black man fatally shot by cops, New York Post, September 29, 2016
  4. ^ "El Cajon Police Shooting: US Tried to Deport Slain Refugee Twice | NBC 7 San Diego". Nbcsandiego.com. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  5. ^ a b c "Who Was Alfred Olango?". 28 September 2016.
  6. ^ Dahir, Abdi Latif (October 2016). "He fled Uganda, grew up in a refugee camp, loved cooking and soccer. And then he was shot by American police". Quartz. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  7. ^ El Cajon Police Department (September 27, 2016). "El Cajon, CA : Police Department News : Officer Involved Shooting". El Cajon Police Department.
  8. ^ Cook, James (September 28, 2016). "US police shooting: Alfred Olango 'pointed e-cigarette'". BBC News.
  9. ^ "Dumanis rules El Cajon police shooting justified". January 10, 2017.
  10. ^ ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties (29 September 2016). "Updated Statement on the Shooting of Alfred Olango". ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. Retrieved 2 October 2016.