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A black man was shot in an encounter with El Cajon Police Tuesday, multiple witnesses said, while a woman wailed nearby, demanding to know why police shot her brother.
Hours later, police officers told NBC 7 San Diego the man, now identified as Alfred Olango, was acting erratically and failed to comply, although they did not release details on the specific threat he presented to officers.
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Dozens of officers swarmed a public shopping center in the heart of El Cajon at 1 p.m. The community is approximately 30 miles east of downtown San Diego.
One witness recalled seeing an officer fire five rounds. Another man said police fired Olango who had his hands out to his side. A manager inside a nearby restaurant said he refused to remove his arms from his side. Police said witness video showed Olango did not have his hands in the air.
Witnesses questioned the police motives in the shooting. Crowds gathering by the scene of the shooting began chanting, demanding answers from police.
Officers quickly secured the parking lot near the shooting, at Broadway and North Mollison, north of Interstate 8 and west of State Route 67.
One witness at a local restaurant told NBC 7 police came and took away their phones following the incident.
"I didn’t hear any command ‘Halt’, ‘Stop’ or ‘I’ll shoot,’" said one witness identified as George. "I didn’t hear any command or yelling. I didn’t hear the man say anything. Next thing I see ‘Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow’ – five shots.”
El Cajon Police spokesman Rob Ransweiler said police responded to a radio call of a 30-year-old "erratic subject."
Ransweiler said, Olango did not comply but would not say if the man had a weapon. "I have the information," Ransweiler said. "It’s an ongoing investigation, so I’m not releasing details of the investigation.”
[G] Police Shoot 'Erratic' Man in El Cajon Parking Lot
One video posted to FB shows a woman, identified as Olango's sister, crying. In the video, she’s heard saying: “I called you to help me but you killed my brother.”
“Why couldn’t you guys tase him? Why, why, why, why?” the woman cries out.
In the video, police approach the woman for questioning.
“I called so many times to help him,” she said, as officers ask the woman for her brother’s name and age.
Other passersby tried to comfort the woman.
Michael Ray Rodriguez witnessed the shooting as it unfolded right in front of him.
“When I seen the suspect, he had his hands up,” Rodriguez said holding his arms out to the side. "I seen two officers with their firearm on him."
"The man’s hands are up. No shirt," he added. "He didn’t have no shirt."
The suspect's sister said she was encouraging her brother to do what police were telling him to do; she indicated to NBC 7 that her brother was not showing his hands.
Police said witness video showed Olango did not have his hands in the air.
The investigation just started, but based on the video voluntarily provided by a witness, the subject did NOT have his hands up in the air— El Cajon Police (@elcajonpolice) September 28, 2016
While the suspect stood in that position, another police officer came and blocked the suspect in three directions, Rodriguez said. He said he witnessed the suspect run to the right, and as he did so, he saw the officer fire five shots, knocking the suspect to the ground.
The man was taken to the hospital where he later died.
The entire shooting was captured on mobile phone video from the drive-through at the Los Panchos restaurant. NBC 7's Dave Summers said an El Cajon lieutenant told him the restaurant worker voluntarily turned over the phone. The video at some point in this investigation will be released, the lieutenant told Summers.
According to the restaurant's manager, the video shows Olango refusing to remove his hands from his side.
Maria, an employee at Los Panchos in El Cajon, said police came into the restaurant and took all cell phones from employees after the shooting; they told employees not to talk to anyone, according to Maria. NBC 7 has not confirmed how many phones were confiscated.
Los Panchos was placed under lock down, Maria told NBC 7.
The shooting in the community east of San Diego occurred just three days after police in Charlotte, North Carolina released video showing the Sept. 20 killing of Keith Lamont Scott. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a police officer shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on a highway six days after the Charlotte shooting. In that case, Officer Betty Shelby, has been charged with manslaughter.
Both shootings have reignited protests from members of the African American community questioning the actions of law enforcement officers.
El Cajon City Councilmembers approved the purchase of 88 body cameras this past May, but the El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said he was hoping to have the cameras in use by the start of 2017.