A black man was shot dead by police in southern California Tuesday afternoon, triggering angry scenes as local people protested amid reports that the victim - named unofficially as Alfred Olango - had mental health issues. Some reports say Mr Olango - the 217th black person killed by police this year - was epileptic but police said there was no indication the man was suffering an epileptic seizure.
Police said they were called to a parking lot at the Broadway Village Shopping Center in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, at 1pm after receiving calls of a man who was 'not acting like himself', a statement from police reads. The 30-year-old died after being shot by a police officer from El Cajon Police Department.
El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said the shooting victim was walking in traffic 'not only endangering himself, but motorists.' He said the man refused multiple instructions by the first officer on the scene to remove his hand from his pocket.
Maria Medina, an employee at the nearby Los Panchos restaurant in El Cajon, said one of her co-workers had recorded video of the shooting and had her phone taken by police but El Cajon police denied any phones were 'confiscated'.
Police said when the man did not follow their demands, one officer drew his firearm and pointed it the man, who was wearing a black tank top and blue jeans. A second officer who responded to the scene drew a Taser, aiming it at the man, while the first officer still had his firearm out and pointed.
"At one point, the subject 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. At this time, the officer with the electronic control device discharged his weapon. Simultaneously, the officer with the firearm discharged his weapon several times, striking the subject.'' the statement reads.
Police provided first aid for the man at the scene until medics arrived and took him to the hospital but he died as a result of his injuries.It is unclear how many times he was shot or what part of his body was struck. Davis said the second officer fired his Taser at the man the same time the other officer fired from his gun.
A photo released by police shows the moment right before the man was shot dead by an officer, as another officer aims a Taser at the shooting victim. The entire shooting was captured on a cell phone, but the video will not be released as it is part of an ongoing investigation, said Davis.
A video shared to Facebook by Rumbie Mubaiwa shows a woman named Sarah, who said she was the dead man's sister, crying hysterically in the parking lot after witnessing her brother being shot. Sarah, who said she called police three different times, can be heard in the video, saying: "I called you to help me but you killed my brother. Why couldn't you guys tase him? Why why why why?"
Police officers can be seen approaching the woman in the video to question her. "I called so many times to help him," she said before telling a female police officer that her brother's name is Alfred Olango.
Meanwhile, tennis star, Serena Williams has said she 'won't be silent' about the killing of black men by police officers. Williams posted on Facebook on Tuesday she was worried for members of her family and she quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying 'there comes a time when silence is betrayal', adding 'I Won't Be Silent.'