The object held by a black man shot and killed by El Cajon police officers Tuesday was a type of vaping device, two police sources have confirmed to NBC7.
Alfred Olango, a 38-year-old Ugandan refugee who friends say came to the U.S. over 20 years ago, was killed following a confrontation with police officers in the middle of the day in a public parking lot along a busy street.
El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis, whose officers are not outfitted with body-worn cameras, released a still image from video captured by a witness while promising transparency and asking the community to be patient as the investigation unfolds.
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Members of the community held a rally early Wednesday to call for a federal investigation. Several hundred protesters took to the streets later in the evening, with many chanting "no justice, no peace."
Olango pulled an object from his pants and held it out “like he would be firing a gun,” El Cajon police said. The object was a vaping smoking device with an all-silver cylinder measuring approximately 1 inch in diameter and 3 inches long. The vape had a box attached; it was collected as evidence on scene.
"The two officers that were involved, the one that deployed the Taser and the one that fired his weapon, both have over 21 years of service as police officers," Davis said Tuesday night.
El Cajon police said the dispatch receiving calls beginning at 1 p.m. of a man who was “not acting like himself.”
Chief Davis said it took approximately 50 minutes for his officers to arrive at the scene. The shooting happened one to two minutes after officers arrived on scene, police told NBC 7.
Witnesses offered conflicting accounts as to what happened. Some told NBC 7 Olango had his arms stretched out to his side. Some said he refused to raise his arms.
According to police, Olango refused multiple instructions to remove his hand from in his pocket. This was confirmed by the manager of a nearby fast-food restaurant where a drive-through employee recorded the only video believed to have captured the entire incident.
At the time, there was a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) clinician with a police officer in the area, but they were responding to another call of a reported man darting in and out of traffic. They were not available.
The community of El Cajon, California is approximately 30 miles east of downtown San Diego.