<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usFri, 30 Sep 2016 08:48:30 -0700Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:48:30 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Witnesses Fear ‘The Worst’ After Boy is Hit by Car]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:23:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

Witnesses who saw and heard a boy being hit by a car in Vista Thursday evening immediately feared the worst as the boy lay in the street.

“We saw the boy on the floor and the guy was stopped in the car, and we immediately thought the worst,” said Abraham Ojeda, the man who called 911 after the crash.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO), the child was riding a bicycle in the 800 block of Lemon Avenue just after 3 p.m. when he was struck by a driver in a white sedan.

Residents said they heard a loud bang and, when they ran outside, the boy was on the ground and hurt.

Ojeda told NBC 7 the boy was conscious when he saw him after the accident. The child was rushed to Rady Children’s Hospital. As of 11 p.m., the boy’s condition was unknown.

The driver who hit the boy stopped and cooperated with deputies. One neighbor said the driver was with his own children at the time of the crash and everyone was extremely shaken by the accident.

Ojeda, father to a newborn, said the sight of the child hit by the car in his neighborhood is something he won’t soon forget.

Ojeda said this accident may have been a case of both the boy and the driver not seeing one another. He said he’s now more concerned than ever about safety on his street.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Petco Park Honors Hall of Fame Broadcaster]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:24:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dick-Enberg.jpg

The lights have been turned off at Petco Park until next season. The Padres were unable to sweep the Dodgers, losing 9-4 in this evening’s game. However they still walked away on top winning two out of the three game series to end their 2016 season at home.

While many of the players who were out there this evening will be returning to Petco Park come next April one man who some may consider part of the team, hung up his head set and put away his play book for the final time at Petco Park.

Dick Enberg, a hall of fame broadcaster, primary play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres, or as many fans may recall, the voice behind the famous "Oh My."

Enberg called his final game in a place where he has grown all too familiar with over the past seven years, Petco Park.

Though he may be setting aside the play book, he has made a permanent mark at Petco Park. This evening prior to the game Enberg was honored with the “Dick Enberg Broadcast Booth”, as well as a standing ovation from both Padres and Dodgers fans.

The impact Enberg has made on baseball fans and sports fans for that matter could be seen though the faces of the players, fans in the crowd, and fellow announcers. Needless to say the legendary announcer will always be able to call Petco Park a home away from home

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Warning: Park at Your Own Risk on 5th Avenue]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:51:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/5th+avenue+gaslamp+quarter+generic.JPG

San Diego Police will ticket cars parked along 5th Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter during certain weekend hours beginning Friday.

For the past several weeks violators got just a warning, but starting September 30, citations will be issued. 

Street parking on Fifth Avenue – from Broadway to Harbor Drive – is now a 3-minute “Passenger Loading Zone” area every Friday and Saturday, from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., similar to the loading zones currently in place at the San Diego International Airport.

Before this change, there was metered parking in the area from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and free, open parking every night from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m.

The changes are aimed at improving traffic flow, easing congestion and improving pedestrian safety and accessibility in the bustling downtown area.

The Gaslamp Quarter Association also said the change will promote alternate modes of transportation into downtown, including public transit, rideshare services, taxis and the new Free Ride Everywhere Downtown Shuttle, also known as FRED.

The Gaslamp Quarter Association said existing valet stands and taxis along Fifth Avenue will not be affected by the change.

For more info about parking in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, click here.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Smoke From Boat Fire Billows Over Shelter Island]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:42:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Shelter-Island-Boat-Fire-0930.jpg

Smoke billowed over Shelter Island early Friday morning when a fire ripped through a docked boat.

The fire was reported at around 5:30 a.m. on a 30-foot vessel docked near the 2200 block of Shelter Island Drive.

Thirty firefighers with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) rushed to the scene to find the boat fully engulfed in flames. Smoke was visible from a distance, lingering over the water. 

The biggest challenge for crews was gaining quick access to the boat. Officials said they had to lay fire hoses for 700 to 800 feet on the pier leading to the vessel.

Within a half-hour, the boat fire had been knocked down.

SDFD officials said one woman aboard the boat safely escaped the fire, running onto a pier. The woman suffered minor burns but officials said she was treated at the scene and did not want to be taken to the hospital.

Officials believe the fire started in the boat's engine. An investigation will determine more details.

The Harbor Police Department told NBC 7 crews will now work to remove water from the boat so it doesn't sink. The vessel will then be taken to a salvage yard.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Police Force: When Can an Officer Shoot?]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:10:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Alfred-Olango-ECPD-Shooting-Still.jpg

The question of when an officer can use force is central to the national dialogue on police shootings, and though policies vary from police department to police department, there are county and statewide protocols that all agencies follow.

In the wake of the deadly shooting of unarmed 38-year-old Alfred Olango, NBC 7 took a look at those policies and how often police use fatal force.

For all of 2014, 2015 and 2016, El Cajon police have been involved in a total of three officer-involved shootings; two of which were fatal.

El Cajon neighbors San Diego’s eastern border with a population of 103,688, according to 2015 census numbers.

The last police shooting in El Cajon, was in January 2016 and involved Kelsey Hauser, a 25-year-old white female who was a passenger in a stolen car.

Police said the driver of that car first led police on a high-speed chase then reversed toward an officer after hitting a patrol car.

In August, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis issued a letter to the agency saying the El Cajon officer’s use of deadly force against Hauser was expected and reasonable under the circumstances, and the officer was not criminally liable.

On Tuesday, El Cajon police shot and killed Olango.

El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said Olango was behaving erratically, walking into traffic and when officers contacted him, he lifted an object from his pants, pointed it at officers while taking a shooting stance.

The object was later confirmed to be a vape smoking device that had a 3-inch long cylinder attached to a 4-inch by 2-inch vape box.

Davis said the El Cajon Police Department and the District Attorney’s office will investigate.

The shooting of an unarmed black man has sparked outrage, grief and violent protests in El Cajon and the San Diego region that mirror scenes across the nation.

Numbers for how often police shoot citizens are hard to come by on a nationwide scale.

Until last month, the federal government did not keep a comprehensive record of police killings.

Spurred by national unrest over a series of controversial deaths, the Department of Justice announced in August it will now actively work to document and confirm fatal cases of police shootings. 

According to a data compiled by The Washington Post, 715 people have been shot and killed by police across the nation in 2016.

NBC 7 reviewed the data for 2015 through 2016 and found the top five cities with the most fatal police shootings are Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Chicago and Las Vegas.

  • Los Angeles 24
  • Houston 21
  • Phoenix 21
  • Chicago 16
  • Las Vegas 15

The City of San Diego was 28th on the list with seven fatal shootings. No data yet exists that includes per capita rates or ranks the number of shootings compared to population.

Law enforcement officers are trained to use deadly force if they reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of deadly force against them, other officers or a member of the public.

National City Police Chief Manuel Rodriguez said integral to the standard is the idea of “reasonableness,” and an evaluation of the totality of the circumstances, and what the officer knows or believes at the time of the shooting without the benefit of hindsight.

“A lot of times what people don’t understand is the penal code gives the officers the authority to use the force necessary to overcome resistance or avoid someone from getting seriously injured or killed,” said Rodriguez. “So, when an officer is faced in a situation where he feels his life is in danger then he’s able to respond with deadly force.”

Tuesday night, El Cajon police released a single still photo captured from a witness’ cell phone that shows Olango’s encounter with police.

Rodriguez said Thursday he doesn’t believe any reasonable person could look at the picture, which shows Olango’s hands up in a shooting stance with a gun-shaped object pointed at an officer, and conclude lethal force was unreasonable.

“With the public information available, I think you can make a reasonable assessment that most people wouldn’t take a shooting stance and point an object at an officer that looks like a gun because there can only be one outcome usually when that happens,” Rodriguez said.

But hundreds took to the streets Thursday in El Cajon for a second night to protest the shooting.

“This killing, we do not believe was justified,” said Rev. Shane Harris, president of the San Diego Chapter of the National Action Network (NAN). “[Olango] was attacked, and he was not given the opportunity to live.”

Harris said the photo does not tell the full story of what happened during the deadly encounter and called on the El Cajon police to release the full video.

Recently, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis issued new protocols for the disclosure of officer involved shooting video evidence. The new practice says agencies will release video “as soon as it’s appropriate to do so.”

Photo Credit: El Cajon Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Locals Show Support for Law Enforcement]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:52:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/El+Cajon+Police+bagles.JPG

As the demonstrations and protests continue in El Cajon, people have been stopping by the police station with encouraging words and gifts to show their support.

Kelemonyn Trejo and Jacob Garcia told NBC 7 that they are tired of police officers being the center of negative attention, so they're doing something about it--hand delivering food along with encourgaging words to the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD).

“We just wanted to show our support and show that we care, appreciate what they do,” said Garcia.

The two college students said they have been watching the news over the past couple of days, and saw people angry and lash out at police. 

"I think there's a peaceful way to protest about it; but I think yelling at them and putting their phones at them, I mean, you wouldn't like that if somebody did that to you, so why do that to them," said Trejo.

They know it's not much, but they hope the simple gesture will go a long way during this difficult time.

“we live down the street from where the protests happened and we were just like 'We have to do something! Bring them water, bring them something to at least say thanks for keeping us safe'," said Trejo.

Trejo and Garcia are not the only ones who have reached out to law enforcement.

El Cajon police told NBC 7 people have been stopping by on a regular basis over the last couple of months to show their support. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend Closures Coming to Pacific Surfliner Service in Oct.]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:07:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/train-tracks-generic-railroad-2016.jpg

Pacific Surfliner service will be suspended for three weekends in October due to scheduled track closures.

There will be no train service between Los Angeles and San Diego on October 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23.

All COASTER train services between Oceanside and San Diego will also be suspended during the track closures.

Metrolink will offer limited weekend service between Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs and Irvine.

Buses will be available with limited stops between L.A. and San Diego, but only as a dedicated connection to long-distance Amtrak trains. Connection tickets are required for Sunset Limited (train 2), Southwest Chief (train 3 or 4) and Coast Starlight (trains 11 or 14).

Bus service between Fullerton, Palm Springs and Indio (4968, 4969, 4984 and 4985) will be cancelled.

The track closures come as construction crews work along the track corridor between the two destinations.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Critics Question Nuclear Waste Storage Plans At San Onofre]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:53:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San+onofre+nuclear+0622.jpg

The threat of a nuclear meltdown is no longer a concern at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station because it’s shut down.

A shuttered nuclear plant does present another potential threat to public safety, according to an editorial in the April 2016 edition of Scientific American Magazine. The article warns of a greater danger, and says “more threatening than a meltdown, it's the steady accumulation of radioactive waste.”

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was permanently retired by its owners, Southern California Edison, SCE, and SDG&E in 2013. The plant’s operations left 3.6 million pounds of radioactive waste behind.

If all goes as planned that radioactive waste is headed to bluffs just north of the dead reactors above San Onofre State Beach. It will sit near Interstate 5 in Southern California between two major metropolitan areas, San Diego and Los Angeles, where 17 million people call home.

Fifty canisters of radioactive leftovers, from fuel burned before the plant closed, are already in storage on the plant's property. It accounts for about 30 percent of the radioactive waste on site. In the spring of 2017, the remaining radioactive waste will begin to be moved out of the pools of cooling water where it is currently stored and into 100 stainless steel dry casks which will also be encased in a cement pad. 

Daniel Hirsch, the Director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at UC Santa Cruz, said it is imperative the fuel rods be moved out of the pools and into dry casks as soon as possible.

“It is the most dangerous stuff on earth; a witches brew of radioactive material," he said.

A fuel rod is a long zirconium metal tube containing pellets of fissionable material, which provide fuel for nuclear reactors.

"Those pools are so densely packed, that if you lose the coolant you could have a fire in them," Hirsch said.

According to a report from Robert Alvarez, a former policy advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy, a pool fire would release more radioactivity than a reactor meltdown.

Hirsch told NBC 7 Investigates the clock is ticking, something the plant’s owners agree with.

The location of the waste storage is something the plant’s owners and nuclear waste critics do not agree with.

“They're going to be stored on the beach in the worst possible location you can imagine," Charles Langley, who opposes the storage plans at San Onofre, said. Langley tracks all things related to San Onofre and the nuclear waste storage plans for Public Watchdogs, a San Diego based non-profit website.

The proposed storage site is northwest of the plant’s units one and two; the two reactor domes that can be seen from the freeway. 

Currently, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is the largest privately-owned coastal nuclear storage site in the country. When compared to government owned sites, it’s the second largest in the country, behind the Hanford Site in Washington where the first plutonium reactor was built and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan was created. 

Langley said the location selected is all about money. "It's the cheapest alternative,” he said. “It's what’s best for the stockholders. It’s not what's best for the people of Orange and San Diego County."

SCE does not agree. Neither does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC, and the California Coastal Commission, which both approved the Pacific coastline location.

It’s not a case of no risk, the utilities argue, but low risk.

In January, due to El Nino weather conditions, there was considerable erosion of the beaches and bluffs around the San Onofre plant, the same area where the canisters will be stored.

Nina Babiarz, a transportation consultant and former journalist, said the location for the nuclear waste storage is a poor one.

"It's on an earthquake fault in a tsunami zone," she said.

NBC 7 Investigates reviewed weather reports and found rising sea levels at and around the nuclear waste storage location could continue.

A Pacific Institute report on sea level rise, with contributions by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, found "flooding and erosion" risks will increase. According to the report, "in areas where the coast erodes easily, sea level rise will likely accelerate shoreline recession" and "may expose previously protected areas to flooding."

The United States Geological Service found the same dynamics: extreme bluff, cliff and beach erosion, accelerating over time.

The City of Del Mar, located 33 miles from San Onofre and with a similar coastline, did its own risk assessment of projected impact from sea level rise, storm surges and coastal flooding. In its assessment it describes the potential for extensive flooding and cliff collapses. 

No matter the weather conditions, SCE claims there's little risk any one of the 50-ton canisters, wrapped in concrete, will leak.

SCE describes the storage containers as "robust,” a "proven technology...The design exceeds California earthquake requirements, protects against water, fire or tsunamis'...inaccessible to missiles or projectiles.” 

Nuclear power plants throughout the country have been safely storing used fuel since 1986, SCE has said. The company cites an analysis by the nuclear industry that shows it would take at least 80 years for a severe crack in the canister to occur. By then, the utility says, science will have a solution.

In a March 24 letter to San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, the NRC said, "there is a decreased risk to the public due to the reactor being defueled."

The letter continues by describing how it came to this conclusion and cites how SCE told the NRC about the minimal risk of a nuclear accident at a closed San Onofre.

This information resulted in changes to how emergency response plans at the plant will be handled. The NRC agreed to a series of exemptions requested by the utility, including no longer requiring SCE to be responsible for emergency response due to a nuclear accident at San Onofre, except for on the grounds of the reactor site.

Prior to this exemption, the utility was held responsible to provide equipment and money in the case of an emergency for a much wider area.

In a statement, a representative with SCE said, “Southern California Edison is committed to a safe, timely and transparent decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear plant that protects the environment, and the health and safety of the public. Keeping the public informed is important to our efforts, which is why detailed information regarding the decommissioning process, how we safely store used nuclear fuel, and our current emergency response plans -- including our ongoing partnerships with local emergency responders -- can be found on SONGScommunity.com.”

"Now the only emergency planning response we have is San Diego County Emergency Services," Babiarz said.

NBC 7 Investigates contacted the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services and a spokesperson said the agency is up for the task. It conducts Federal Emergency Management Association-evaluated San Onofre drills and has for the past three decades.

As long as the radioactive fuel rods are stored, 2019 at the latest, SCE has committed $325,000 a year to San Diego County. County emergency services leaders said they have no funding or emergency response problems even with the SCE pullout but they have asked the NRC for additional funds. So far, they said, nothing has happened in regards to that request.

In a separate series of letters obtained by NBC 7 investigates another change related to emergency preparation at San Onofre evolved.

In one letter, the NRC said, "based on the exemptions granted to SCE, the NRC no longer requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency to monitor, review or report on offsite" radiological emergency preparedness.

FEMA is the primary federal agency responsible for preparing and responding in emergencies.

"How could we possible have lost the emergency planning support and response of Federal Emergency Management Agency?” Babiarz asked.

According to a memorandum of understanding the NRC has with FEMA, the NRC has the authority to grant the exemption based on documents provided to the agency by the SCE. 

The California Office of Emergency Services, in a letter to FEMA, said "rather than abruptly end this program, we urge FEMA to continue working with Cal OES, the NRC and San Diego County..."

The agency’s request was ignored.

NBC 7 Investigates contacted the NRC asking about Cal OES’s request. The agency did not provide any answers and said it was "between the state and FEMA."

Click here to read the letters. 

Cal OES’s director, Mark Ghilarducci, told NBC 7 Investigates he stands by his request to FEMA and said "the public also needs as much reassurance as possible that necessary safety measures are continuing in a unified effort by all parties."

NBC 7 Investigates is working for you. If you have more information about this or other story tips, contact us: (619) 578-0393, NBC7Investigates@nbcuni.com. To receive the latest NBC 7 Investigates stories subscribe to our newsletter.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Bear Valley Parkway in Escondido Widened]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 18:29:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bear+Valley+Parkway.jpg

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Thursday for the widening of a problem road in Escondido.

A stretch of Bear Valley Parkway from Boyle Avenue to San Pasqual Valley Road has gone from two to four lanes after a two-year $16 million construction project.

The project also added sidewalks, bike lanes and drainage, and relocated overhead utility lines underground.

The asphalt used for the new road is composed from more than 10,000 used tires in efforts to dampen the noise coming from the parkway, according to San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Neighbors Help Put Out Fire in Spring Valley]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:33:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/09-29-16+Spring+Valley+Fire.JPG

Neighbors gathered near a home to help put out a fire in Spring Valley on Thursday evening.

The fire started at approximately 5:30 p.m. on the 8900 block of Valencia Street near Bancroft Drive. 

NBC 7's Chopper recorded video of neighbors throwing buckets of water and using water hoses to put out the flames. The fire was burning close to several homes.

It's unknown where the fire began.

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged in Pacific Beach Hit-and-Run]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 18:37:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/080516_SLOMO_PB_HIT_AND_RUN_SURVEILLANCE_1200x675_743355459711.jpg

The man arrested in connection to a hit-and-run in Pacific Beach that injured three people in August was charged on Thursday.

Omar Gutierrez, 24, was charged with three counts of great bodily injury and use of a weapon and two counts of use of a weapon. He was arraigned on Thursday morning in a San Diego courthouse.

Gutierrez was arrested on Tuesday evening at his workplace. San Diego Police (SDPD) said he allegedly ran over three men crossing the street on the 900 block of Garnet Avenue on the morning of Aug. 5.

J'Ron Erby, 23, a recent college graduate and an intern for the San Diego Chargers was one of the victims injured in the hit-and-run. He suffered skull fractures and brain trauma.

Police had released a short surveillance video that showed a vehicle suspected in the crash leaving the scene. They later recovered a car believed to be involved in the hit-and-run.

According to police, the hit-and-run was intentional. His bail was set at $350,000.

If convicted, Gutierrez could face 47 years to life in prison.

<![CDATA[Number Of Ambulance Collection Notices Sent In Error Grows]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:09:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ruralmetrologo1.JPG

More than 40 people have received collection notices sent in error after being transported by Rural Metro ambulances in San Diego. 

Last month, NBC 7 Responds helped three residents who received collection notices for ambulance rides they needed two years ago. After the story aired, dozens more reached out to the consumer investigative unit sharing similar stories. 

Twenty-three-year-old Danielle Johnston is one of those people. She had a mishap with a bed frame in 2014. 

“It just slipped out of my hands cause it was so heavy and I think I had my foot like this, and then from really high it went straight onto my foot,” Danielle said. “My foot swelled immediately.” 

Danielle called 911 and was transported by a Rural/Metro ambulance to a local hospital. Since she was on her parent’s health insurance plan, Danielle thought the ride was covered until she received a call from a collections agency two years later. 

“They hadn’t processed it through insurance,” Danielle’s mother Susan Rillie said. “It was just an unpaid bill that they dumped on collections.” 

Most insurance companies require a claim to be filed within a year of the incident. In this case, that time had passed for Danielle. 

“I figured there’s not too much we are going to be able to do other than try to protect her credit from having a negative report,” Susan said. 

Susan settled the amount with the collections agency, Credence Resource Management based in Texas, paying a little over $1,500. The next day, Susan said she saw NBC 7 Responds’ story on the Rural/Metro collections error. 

“I called back the agency [Credence Resource Management] and I told them I was going to stop payment because there is apparently a bigger issue here,” Susan said. 

Click here to watch NBC 7 Responds’ first report on Rural/Metro collections.  

Gaye Dingeman, 91, was in a similar situation after needing a Rural/Metro ambulance ride in 2014. 

“They thought I was bleeding internally so they put me in the hospital,” Gaye said. 

Gaye said she never received a bill after the ambulance ride but figured it was covered under her Medicare insurance. 

Two years later, Gaye received a collection notice for $3,200. 

“I was shocked,” Gaye said. “That’s a lot of money, we don’t have it just sitting around waiting to be spent on ambulances.” 

After contacting NBC 7 Responds, Rural/Metro eliminated both Gaye and Danielle’s balances. The company also issued a refund to Danielle’s mother Susan for the amount she had paid. 

A total of 43 people with collections totaling nearly $80,000 contacted NBC 7 Responds. 

In the Bay Area, the NBC television station ran the NBC 7 Responds story and immediately heard from more than a dozen people who also received collection notices for ambulance rides in 2014. Those bills totaled over $12,000. 

When NBC 7 Responds contacted Rural/Metro about the collection notices, the company resolved the complaints quickly by eliminating the balances and sending a letter to each patient explaining the bill was sent to the collection agency in error. 

In an email statement, Rural/Metro’s Media Relations Manager Tom Milton said, the company has “..instituted new procedures to ensure this does not happen again. This issue affects only bills prior to 2015. It does not affect bills from 2015 and 2016.” 

Rural/Metro told NBC 7 Responds the issue resulted from a processing change that was made when the company came out of bankruptcy. 

Rural/Metro Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

In 2015, Rural/Metro was purchased by Envision Healthcare Holdings Inc. through the company’s medical transport branch American Medical Response (AMR).  

Rural/Metro has contracts with cities across the country in twenty states, according to the company’s website. NBC 7 Responds asked a company spokesperson how widespread the error from the processing change could be, but the spokesperson did not respond. 

In 2015, the San Diego City Council approved a no-bid contract extension with Rural/Metro to provide emergency medical services for the next five years. 

When NBC 7 Responds brought the issue surrounding the collection notices to the city’s attention, Katie Keach a spokesperson for the city said via email, “While we do not have oversight of the company's business activities, we have confirmed that they are quickly resolving billing concerns." 

NBC 7 Responds reached out to every member of the San Diego City Council. Those that responded said they felt Rural/Metro’s current approach to the collection notices was appropriate. 

Click here to view statements sent to NBC 7 Responds from City Council members, Rural/Metro and more. 

NBC 7 Responds has learned an attorney for Rural/Metro told a San Diego County Prosecutor Rural/Metro felt it was logistically impossible to identify and then proactively contact the affected consumers from 2014. 

In an email, a Rural/Metro spokesperson told NBC 7 Responds, “If patients received a bill they think might be in error for Rural Metro fire or ambulance services provided prior to 2015, the easiest way to get it resolved is to send an email to credence@rmetro.com. We sincerely apologize for any problems this issue has caused our patients."

NBC 7 Responds is here to help you with your consumer issues and we want to hear from you. Submit your consumer problem through our online form by clicking here or you can call us 619-732-NBC7 (6332). Every call or online submission we receive will be answered because if you need help, NBC 7 Responds. To see if we have helped anyone in your neighborhood, click on the map below.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[El Cajon Protests: Blocked Intersections, Smashed Windows]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:54:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-611495506.jpg

At least two people were arrested after tensions flared in a small San Diego suburb Thursday night as demonstrators gathered for a third night of protests over the shooting death of an unarmed black man.



Police said between 50 to 75 protesters blocked traffic at the intersection of Broadway and Mollison, yards from the parking lot where Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an El Cajon officer.

Frustrated motorists tried to drive through the crowd and some, angry over blocked traffic, got out of there car to confront protesters. The confrontation became heated and some protesters broke car windows and in one case pushing a man off his motorcycle, police said.


The exchange prompted police and sheriff's deputies in riot gear to move in closer to the protesters. Law enforcement officials ordered the crowd to disperse at approximately 8 p.m. 

According to police, protesters began throwing water bottles and beers cans at officers and refused to leave. Officers on scene then deployed pepper-spray balls.

A 19-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were arrested for taking part in an unlawful assembly. Their names were not released.


The Thursday evening protests were a shift from activity during the day, when a few small groups were congregating near the Broadway Plaza Shopping Center where Olango was shot dead Tuesday afternoon. 

A family member called police to help Olango as he was undergoing, what was described as an emotional breakdown, but shot him when he pulled out an electronic cigarette device and took a "shooting stance." He died later that evening.

On Wednesday large crowds marched through El Cajon streets, chanting "no justice, no peace," in mostly peaceful protests. In the evening, demonstrations became heated and several protesters on Wednesday night threw water bottles at a car, and a news photographer had his camera forcibly taken from him, police said.

Thursday afternoon, the site of a shooting had become a memorial filled with handwritten signs paying tribute to Olango and calling for justice.

In a statement, El Cajon police said they continue to support the community’s right to voice their opinions in a peaceful manner.

A group of religious leaders who met on Thursday called on the community to join together to create one peaceful voice.

“If we go and loot, if we go and tear neighborhoods, we’re in the same position they are,” said Pastor Russell Bowman of Righteous Living Ministries. “So we’re trying to gather around those emotions and calm the storm before it actually breaks out.”

Several protests have been planned for the weekend and a march is scheduled to take place at an area college next month. A demonstration led by local religious leaders will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown El Cajon at the Prescott Promenade.

A second rally on Saturday is planned for 3 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center.

Next month, a third event, called a “March for Reparations,” is scheduled for Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. at San Diego City College.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[2 Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide in Bankers Hill: PD]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:56:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/9-29-16-Bankers-Hill-Body-Found.JPG

A mother of three and her boyfriend were found shot to death at a Bankers Hill living facility for women in what appears to be a murder-suicide, according to San Diego Police (SDPD).

SDPD Lieutenant Ray Valentin said the mother, a manager at the facility, was found shot to death by her boyfriend, who then shot himself. 

The shooting happened at a building on the 100 block of Redwood, north of Downtown San Diego, at approximately 3:15 p.m. Thursday, according to Valentin. 

"At this time, there's a gun at the scene. It appears its going to be gunshot wounds," Valentin said.

Authorities said the person who reported the incident said she was talking with the victim through the door of a room when she heard a loud bang. Residents of the facility said they did not hear any arguments or commotion before the shooting, Valentin said. 

Police recovered a gun at the scene. 

When fire officials first arrived on scene, they found the office door locked from the inside, Valentin said. Authorities had to break into the room through the window and door. The shooting was confined to the one office room. 

It is unclear how many people were inside the all-women's facility at the time, though investigators say the building has a large number of tenants. 

A friend of the woman found dead said the mother of three was a good worker and loved by everyone at the facility.

"They loved her she was just a compassionate person. the ladies absolutely loved her and she knew her job, she cared about them so they loved her," Traci Banks said, adding that she considered her to be family.

Banks said the woman had been the only staff in the building during the incident.

According to Valentin, authorities do not believe there are outstanding suspects. 

Homicide detectives are on scene investigating.

No other information was immediately available.

Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to call the San Diego Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Gender-Neutral Restroom Law in CA]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 18:44:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GenderNeutralBathroom-AP_387290774073.jpg

California Gov. Jerry Brown waded further into the national debate over transgender rights Thursday as he signed a bill requiring that all single-stall toilets in California be designated as gender neutral.

The measure requires that businesses and governments post non-gender-specific signs on single-occupant restrooms by March 1, 2017. Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco said his legislation would establish the nation's most inclusive restroom-access law and "chart a new course of equality for the nation."

"This simple concept is oddly cutting-edge when compared with the discrimination being enacted in other states," Ting said earlier, while urging the Democratic governor to sign the bill, AB1732.

One noticeable change will be signage seen outside single-stall restrooms at restaurants and other public places. Some are indifferent about the law, while others feel it's unnecessary.

"I really don’t care who uses the restroom, personally," said Veronica Murray, of Walnut Creek.

Another Walnut Creek resident, Justin Ferrara, said, "I think it’s absolutely confusing. I don’t really understand what the big deal is in the first place; leave it the way it was. I think it’s ridiculous."

Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, which co-sponsored the bill, said it's an issue of safety.

"This law is going to mean people who are transgender that don’t meet stereotypes of what a man or a woman should look like are able to use the restroom, without fear of harassment or fear of violence," Hayashi said.

Lawmakers sent the legislation to Brown in August, a day after a federal judge temporarily blocked an order by President Barack Obama requiring that public schools let students use bathrooms that correlate with their gender identity.

California students can already do so under a law Brown signed in 2013. He also approved adding gender identity to the state's antidiscrimination laws in 2011.

Supporters of the new legislation said 19 states considered restricting access to restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities based on the user's biological sex, including North Carolina, which passed a law requiring people to use restrooms based on their gender at birth.

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider reviewing whether a transgender Virginia high school senior should be permitted to use the boys restroom.

Supporters say gender-neutral restrooms also would help parents with children of a different gender and adults caring for aging parents. It would not affect restrooms that have multiple stalls.

Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a nonprofit conservative organization, pointed to potential conflicts arising from gender-neutral facilities.

"What woman wants a man poking his head in the restroom door that somehow didn't shut or lock? How many women want to use a urine-stained toilet seat?" he wrote in urging Brown to veto the bill.

He fears that what he called a "radical state takeover of the private sector's restroom policies" could affect religious schools and home businesses.

Opponents said in December that they had failed to collect enough signatures to advance a proposed ballot measure that would have asked voters to require transgender people to use the public restrooms that correspond with their biological sex.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[El Cajon Police Shooting Sparks Protests]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:42:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/El-Cajon-OIS-0927-1.jpg El Cajon police said they fired on a man described as "erratic" in the parking lot of a shopping center on Broadway on Sept. 27, 2016. The gunfire sparked uproar in the community in San Diego's East County, leading to protests in the streets of El Cajon.

Photo Credit: Ashley Matthews/NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[2 Adults, 1 Child Injured in Interstate 8 Crash]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:45:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

Two adults and one child were injured in a crash on Interstate 8 near Pine Valley in San Diego's East County. 

The crash happened at approximately 2:36 p.m. Thursday during a reported heavy downpour in the area, said Cal Fire Captain Kendall Bortisser. 

The two adults suffered critical injuries; it is unclear how badly the child was injured. 

Cal Fire medics are just getting to the scene now. 

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Lemon Grove to Be Sprayed to Prevent Zika Spreading]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 17:23:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vector-spraying-mosquito-zika.jpg

County health officials plan to hand spray a section of the Lemon Grove neighborhood to prevent the spread of Aedes mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus. 

Mosquitoes and larvae that could carry the virus were found near people who tested positive for the Zika virus. Officials went door-to-door to residents' homes on Tuesday and left notifications for people living, indicating where the spraying will occur.

County officials will spray the area bordered by San Miguel Avenue on the north side, Corona Street to the west, midway between Tweed Street and Brunei Court on the south, and midway between New Jersey Avenue and Buena Vista Avenue to the east. 

Aedes species of mosquitoes, which are known to carry Zika, are not native to San Diego County. Officials said they prefer to live close to people, which is unlike most native species. A female mosquito can lay anywhere from 100 to 300 eggs at a time.

When spraying the County will use Pyrenone, an insecticide derived from chrysanthemums, that poses low risk to people and pets. The chemicals dissipate in about half an hour.

To avoid exposure to the spray, officials are encouraging residents to stay inside with any pets, close doors and windows, cover fishponds, rinse fruits and vegetables from their gardens and wipe down outdoor items. Beekeepers are advised to cover their shelter hives and habitats.

Rebecca LaFreniere, Deputy Director with Department of Environmental Health San Diego County, suggested residents help the county control the aedes species of mosquitoes by routinely removing breeding areas around their home.

She suggested something as small as a toy, a lawn ornament or a saucer could provide a perfect amount of water for mosquitoes to multiply.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Atty.: Olango Was Not Mentally Ill, But Was Having Breakdown]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:47:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GILLEONMENTALLYILLCLIP_1200x675_775958083652.jpg Family attorney Dan Gilleon explains that the El Cajon shooting victim was not mentally ill, as some believed. ]]> <![CDATA[Defense Secretary Carter Discusses Asia Pacific in Coronado]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:12:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DefenseCarter.jpg

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter delivered a speech on board the air craft carrier USS Carl Vinson Thursday morning.

He spoke about the U.S. shift in priorities in Asia-Pacific and the various security challenges affecting the area, calling the region the "single most consequential region for America's future."

Carter explained the plan to strengthen stability in the Asia-Pacific, starting with strategic investments.

“First by continuing to qualitatively upgrade and invest in our regional force posture, with sustained and strategic investments," said Carter.

“Second by catalyzing the Asia Pacific’s principle to inclusive security network even more," said Carter. "In this next phase, the United States will continue to sharpen its military edge so we remain the most powerful military in the region and the security partner of choice.”

In his speech, Carter emphasized the importance of U.S. alliances with various countries such as Japan, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines, to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. He called the relationship between the U.S. and Philippines "ironclad."

This remark was made despite the efforts of the new Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte, to distance his government from the U.S. Duterte recently announced the Philippines plan to cancel all future military exercises within the U.S. and demanded the withdrawal of U.S. special forces from the Philippines.

Carter said the U.S. military will continue to invest more in Virginia-class submarines and undersea drones. The military will also make the submarines more lethal by tripling their tomahawk cruise missile strike capacity.

After the speech, Secretary Carter headed to Honolulu to meet with the defense ministers of Asian and Pacific countries.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Marine Testifies ID Theft Case Against Jewelers]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:00:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/romanos-jewelers-storefront.jpg

A San Diego-based Marine told a judge he was young, scared and felt obligated to buy something when approached by employees of Romano's Jewelers in 2011.

The Marine testified in a Vista courtroom Wednesday as part of a criminal case against Romano's store owner Ramil Abalkhad. Owner Ramil Abalkhad and Romano’s manager Carlos Torres and were charged following a 2012 U.S Marine Corps criminal investigation detailed in documents NBC 7 Investigates obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The Marine was testifying prior to the scheduled trial because he is being deployed. The judge asked that the Marine not to be identified. He based at Camp Pendleton in Oct. 2011 when he says he sat through a Romano's sales presentation. He said he had no intention to buy any jewelry and was “just being nice.”

The Marine was questioned by both the prosecutor and one of Abalkhad’s defense attorneys in court Wednesday. During the questioning, the Marine said he signed paperwork, but didn’t “read it thoroughly,” and provided store employees with personal information, including his social security number.

“I started to leave the store and I was held back,” the Marine told the judge. “I was told since I signed something I was obligated to buy something from the store.” In the end he said he bought a Mother’s Medal of Honor for his mom.

“I was contacted by my bank to start payment,” the Marine said. “I already had the items and I couldn't return them.”

According to the original criminal complaint, between 2010 and 2012, Abalkhad instructed manager Torres and employee Nellie Cha Noland to obtain the personal financial information of Marine customers and then add unauthorized charges on their store credit accounts.

In February, San Diego Judge Blaine Bowman decided 13 of the 23 charges against Abalkhad and Torres would move forward. The charges included identity theft, conspiracy and fraud allegedly targeting young Marines.

Abalkhad's trial is set for November 1. He has pleaded not guilty. Torres pleaded guilty earlier this month. Noland pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to be a cooperating witness against Abalkhad and Torres. The sentencing for her and Torres is set to take place after the trial, according to a representative with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

David Youssefyeh, an attorney for Romano’s has previously told NBC 7 Investigates that “any owner or supervisor of Romano's” had no idea that any of this was going on.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Businesses Impacted by El Cajon Protests]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 11:55:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Panchos-El-Cajon-Broadway.jpg

The ongoing protests on the streets of El Cajon in response to the deadly police shooting of an unarmed black man are impacting businesses in the community.

Some businesses – including Parkway Plaza Mall – temporarily closed their doors as a safety precaution amid the demonstrations. Some businesses have been closed for the past two days.

On Thursday morning, owners of some small businesses lining Broadway feared the protests were scaring customers away, despite being open for business.

One woman, who did not want her business or her name in the news, told NBC 7 that her customers don’t feel safe going to her shop. She worried more protests would continue to drive business away.

Meanwhile, many other shops located at the shopping center where Tuesday’s police shooting of Alfred Olango took place were operating normally. This included Pancho’s, the taco shop located close to the scene of the shooting.

An employee there told NBC 7 the business supports the community, equal rights and peaceful protests. The owner of the Windy City Liquor Store in the same shopping center also said the public has the right to protest.

Many business owners in the area told NBC 7 they’re concerned about more protests this weekend, and if those demonstrations will force them to close their doors.

The Downtown El Cajon Business Partners organization said Wednesday it was cancelling a couple of public events in downtown El Cajon this week due to the unrest in the community – a car show and a concert. The City of El Cajon also postponed a Planning Commission Meeting, set to take place in early October, for later in the month.

Photo Credit: Liberty Zabala]]>
<![CDATA[Police Raid North Park Marijuana Shop in Series of Shutdowns]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:06:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/91997111-marijuana-generic.jpg

Police raided a marijuana dispensary in North Park Thursday morning, in an ongoing effort to shut down all the illegally operating marijuana shops in San Diego.

Two people were detained for questioning after the apartment complex on Utah and University avenue was raided at about 8 a.m., said SDPD officers.

All the products and business records were seized from the location, as part of the police investigation, according to SDPD.

There are nearly 20 other illegal marijuana shops in San Diego that police are still working to shut down, said SDPD officers.

The SDPD is working to obtain 12 other search warrants to investigate other marijuana shops, suspected of operating without a legal license. Police said they will continue their search until no illegal dispensaries are left in town.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search La Mesa Area for Assault Suspect]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:42:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/La+Mesa+assault+search.jpg

La Mesa police are searching for a suspect who bumped an officer with his car and then sped off.

Police are searching the area surrounding the 5500 block of Maryland Avenue for an assault suspect.

Police at 10 a.m. Thursday have established a perimeter near Lake Park Way and Lake Murray Boulevard in their search for the suspect.

The incident started when an officer responded to a report of a person sleeping in his car.

When the officer approached the car, the man woke up, bumped the officer with his car and took off, police said.

As officers pursued the man's car, the suspect drove onto a dead end street, into a backyard and hit a fence.

After his car became stuck, the suspect ran away, police said.

As of 12:30 p.m., officers were still looking for the man described as white, in his late 20s or early 30s, heavily tattooed, and wearing shorts but no shirt.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Ashley Matthews]]>
<![CDATA[1 Killed in Ramona House Fire]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:20:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SD-Fire-Engine-Generic.jpg

One person died in a fire that ripped through a 2,000 square-foot house in Ramona Thursday morning near State Route 67.

Firefighters rushed to a burning home in the 18000 block of Dos Picos Park Road at around 9 a.m., according to Cal Fire.

Some of the fire spread to surrounding brush but firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, preventing it from spreading any further, a Cal Fire official.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske
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<![CDATA['He Was Not Mentally Ill': Alfred Olango's Mother]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:06:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/9-26-16-Mother-Olango.JPG

A man shot and killed by police in El Cajon, California, was not mentally ill but was having a breakdown over the death of a close friend during his encounter with police, his mother said Thursday.

“He did not do anything; he had no gun; he was not mental,” explained Pamela Benge, the mother of Alfred Olango at a news conference. “My son is a good, loving young man. Only 38 years old; I wanted his future to be longer than that.”

San Diego attorney Dan Gilleon, who is assisting the family while they decide on legal representation, echoed that, although the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) responded to a report of Olango as an "erractic subject" during the deadly encounter with officers, he was not suffering from mental illness.

“Alfred was not mentally ill. He was going through a mental emergency – a mental breakdown – because he had lost someone he loved dearly. We all go through a bad day,” Gilleon said at the news conference.

“This killing, we do not believe was justified,” said Rev. Shane Harris, president of the San Diego Chapter of the National Action Network (NAN). “He was attacked, and he was not given the opportunity to live.” 

Harris, who organized the news conference and is supporting the family, again criticized the decision of the ECPD to release a single still photograph of Olango’s encounter with police, which shows Olango in what police described as a “shooting stance,” pointing an object now identified as a vaping device at two officers.

He said the photo serves to shape the narrative of the police department, not to tell the full story of what happened during the deadly encounter.

“We only can get a photo – but the country is begging for a video – of him pointing his hands without a gun in his hands,” said Harris.

Harris said this image, pulled from a cellphone video captured by a witness and obtained by police, does not represent who Olango was as a human being.

“What Alfred represented was peace and love,” said Harris, adding that Olango’s family and friends will now lead the fight to frame the narrative because they know who he was.

Harris argued that police are trying to paint Olango as a man suffering from a long-term mental illness when that was not the case.

“You cannot take a breakdown and say that somebody is mentally unstable,” Harris added. “We will correct the script.”

Once again he called for the full release of the video by police, adding, “The tape shows the whole picture – not just a part of the picture.”

Olango’s mother gave a glimpse into her son’s life, saying that he loved to play soccer and deeply loved his family and daughter.

She said as refugees from Uganda, she came to America with her children seeking safety and a better life for them. Coming from a place of war, she said she did not expect this ending for her son.

“We have come from a war zone. We wanted protection,” said Benge. “I wanted a lovely, nice country like this to protect us.”

She said the police shooting of her son has forced her to feel pain similar to what she felt in the midst of war in Uganda.

“There is nothing as painful,” said Benge, referring to the death of her son. “Pain, it is so much that you cannot swallow it but the pain overweighs you. It is so bitter.”

The grief-stricken mother thanked the community for their support. She said that those who plan to continue protesting in response to her son’s shooting should do so in a peaceful and non-violent manner.

“I’m always for peace, I don’t want war. If you have seen war, you will never, ever want to step near where there is war,” she said.

Benge also begged for police shootings of unarmed black men across the nation to stop.

“Humanity is what we would pray for,” she said. “Keep praying for my family. We need justice. This kind of thing needs to stop. Don’t wait until it’s your child. We are all one. Don’t kill.”

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed the agency had tried twice over the years to deport Olango to his native Uganda due to recurring problems with the law.

The Shooting:

Olango was shot and killed by two officers with the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) on Sept. 27 in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 800 block of Broadway.

His sister had called authorities seeking help because her brother was “not acting like himself,” police said.

According to the ECPD, Olango was reported to be “acting erratically,” walking in and out of traffic.

When approached by two officers, the ECPD said Olango did not follow police orders to remove his hands from the pockets of his pants. At one point during the encounter, police said Olango pulled an object from his pocket and pointed it at officers while assuming a “shooting stance.”

As Olango pointed the object at the officers, one officer deployed a Taser while the second officer fired multiple rounds from his gun at the man, critically striking him.

The ECPD said officers called PERT, a psychiatric emergency response team that deals with calls involving subjects in mental distress, to help with Olango before their encounter with him, but that team was not immediately available because it was responding to another call in the area.

ECPD Chief Jeff Davis said the officers involved in the deadly shooting each have 21 years of service as police officers. The officer who fired the deadly shots has been identified as Richard Gonsalves.

Gilleon said Gonsalves has a history of misconduct on the job.

The killing of Olango is the latest case in a disturbing series of highly-publicized police shootings of black men nationwide that have heightened racial tensions across America.

Olango’s shooting has prompted protests on the streets of El Cajon as supporters of the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement seek answers.

Harris and other local civil rights leaders have called for a federal investigation into the case and for the ECPD to release the full video of the encounter, which was captured on the cell phone of a witness.

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells promised Wednesday that a thorough and transparent investigation into the police shooting was underway. Wells said three agencies were investigating: the ECPD, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and the FBI.

Harris said NAN will hold a unity rally for Olango this Saturday in El Cajon.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[Water Main Breaks in Old Town Neighborhood]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:40:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/water-main-break-generic-dfw.jpg

Some Old Town San Diego residents were left without water service Thursday morning after a water main broke, a city official confirmed.

Arian Collins, spokesperson with the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, said an 8-inch concrete water main broke at Juan and Sunset streets just before 4:30 a.m. Crews responded to the scene and shut off water service in the area about an hour after the water main ruptured.

As of 7:45 a.m., Collins said residents in the 2300 block of Guy Street remained without water service as crews worked to repair the water main.

He said a water wagon is on site to provide those customers with water for drinking, cooking and other needs.

Repairs in the area are expected to be completed by 2 p.m. At that time, water service will resume. The cause of the main break was not released.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Campaign, Logo Puts Focus on San Diego-Made Products]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:41:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Made-In-San-Diego-Logo-EDC.jpg

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. unveiled a new campaign designed to raise awareness of locally made products.

The organization said a new logo and hashtag -- #MadeinSD -- will highlight innovation-based companies that develop or otherwise produce goods and services marketed to the rest of the world.

The logo released Sept. 28 consists of a geographical outline of California with a rectangle at the bottom, shaped like a cartoon quote box, pointing to the southwest corner of the state. The box reads, “MADE IN SAN DIEGO.”

The organization said locally headquartered companies, or those with a “strong presence” in San Diego, are encouraged to use the mark.

“It’s time to show the world what many of us already know – that some of the world's best products, ideas and innovations are made right in our backyard,” the organization said in a news release.

The San Diego Regional EDC is an independently funded nonprofit that promotes the region, facilitates local corporate expansion and supports the area’s workforce.

Photo Credit: San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
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<![CDATA[SDSU Ordered to Pay $3M to Ex-Coach Beth Burns]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:23:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Beth-Burns-SDSU-85431540.jpg

San Diego State University was ordered Wednesday to pay more than $3 million to a former women’s basketball coach who claimed she was fired in retaliation for demanding equal treatment of women’s athletics programs.

Beth Burns, who is currently an assistant coach at USC, left SDSU abruptly in April 2013 after a 27-win season and with more wins than any coach in the history of SDSU women’s basketball.

She claims she was told she must either resign, retire or be fired due to an alleged workplace violence incident caught on videotape. Burns, who has said she did not strike anyone intentionally, opted to retire to save her pension.

She sued, claiming her termination was retaliation for complaining about unfair treatment between men’s and women’s athletics at the Division I school.

The alleged incident was captured on video in February 2013 during a game against Colorado State. Burns can be seen twice making contact with assistant coach Adam Barrett. The first time, she appears to hit a clipboard Barrett was holding. Later, she appears to hit the coach in the shoulder.

Burns would often complain about the differences in support for housing, facilities, staffing and equipment between the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

She helped the Aztecs make seven NCAA appearances during her career, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010. She also led her team to six regular-season conference championships and four league tournament titles.

<![CDATA[Renfroe's 2-Run Homer Hits Top of Building]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:02:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Hunter-Renfroe.jpg

We’ve been saying his name a lot since his call up from triple A El Paso. Padres rookie outfielder Hunter Renfroe has barely finished unpacking but already has four home runs and a club-record 12 R-B-I in his first 7 games as a Friar.

One of those came in the third inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park, when Renfroe launched a two-run shot to the top of the Western Metal Supply building to put the Padres up 5-3. The total distance on the shot was 435 feet according to MLB.com.

The Friars held that lead until the fourth inning when Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson sent a two run homer to left field to tie it up 5-5. In San Diego’s half of the inning, fellow rookie Manny Margot reached on a double and just barely stole third base (his second career stolen base).

Margot's steal allowed Padres first baseman Wil Myers to put the ball in play. The All-Star grounded out to shortstop and plated Margot. His RBI groundout put the Padres ahead 6-5. San Diego held on to their one run lead and beat the Dodgers 6-5. Renfroe and Margot each had two hits and two runs in Wednesday’s victory.

Thursday the Friars will go for the sweep against the Dodgers in their final home game of the year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Fights Off Man Trying to Take Off Her Skirt: SDPD]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:00:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/Generic+Police+Tape+Generic.JPG

San Diego Police are investigating a report of sexual battery that occurred Thursday in the Mt. Hope neighborhood of San Diego.

A woman, 28, was walking near 43rd and Market Streets at 2:25 a.m. when a man approached her and tried to take off her skirt, police said.

The woman told police the man walked toward her from the Interstate 805 ramp.

Officers say the woman managed to escape by fighting off her attacker. The suspect ran off toward the highway off-ramp.

SDPD Sex Crimes is investigating the report. Anyone with information can call San Diego Crimestoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Struck by Car Near San Diego Convention Center]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 06:40:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ambulance+GettyImages-478895016.jpg

A man was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in front of the San Diego Convention Center early Wednesday.

San Diego Police said the man ran across the road at 4:40 a.m. near Harbor Boulevard and 1st Avenue.

The man was said to have suffered serious injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital.

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CA Doctors Will Have to Consult Prescription Drug Database]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:11:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_061019038795.jpg

A bill requiring doctors to check the state’s narcotics database before they prescribe controlled substances for new patients was signed into law this week.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill Tuesday that would also require doctors to annually check the state database, called CURES, if the course of narcotic treatment continues for the patient.

CURES is the California’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System.

Supporters of the new law include two San Diegans who were featured in an NBC 7 Investigates story about prescription drug overdoses. They testified in April at the state Capitol on behalf of the legislation and were joined at that hearing by Clark Smith, M.D., a San Diego psychiatrist and addiction expert who also supports the mandatory use of the CURES database. 

Supporters of the bill also said the measure could help crack down on doctor shopping, when a patient obtains controlled substances from multiple providers without those providers knowing about the other prescriptions.

More than 1,000 Californians die every year from accidental or purposeful abuse of controlled substances. Those victims include Kristin Greene, a Lakeside resident who killed herself in November, 2013, with a toxic cocktail of painkillers and sedatives.

Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates reveal that Kristin had obtained more than 60 prescriptions from nine medical professionals and several pharmacies in the five years before her death.

Kristin’s sister, Lisa Bond, said Kristin might still be alive if doctors were required to check CURES. 

“I think if CURES were used on a regular basis, we would see tremendous progress in cutting back prescription drug dependence,” Smith told NBC 7 Investigates.

<![CDATA[Man Killed by El Cajon Police Held Vaping Device: PD]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:36:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/09-27-16-El-Cajon-Officer-Involved-Shooting-PIC.jpg

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.

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.

Photo Credit: El Cajon Police Department
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<![CDATA[Saying Goodbye to Cuban Pitcher Jose Fernandez]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 20:39:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-182712333.jpg

It’s taken three days, several rewrites and a phone call to my mother, but I’m finally publishing this article.

I’ve been covering Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez since he emerged as a top baseball prospect out of Tampa, FL. The young pitcher was extraordinary even before he hit his stride. His charisma was even more impressive than his 96 mph fast ball. I knew then he would leave a mark on the game of baseball. What I didn’t know was the tremendous impact he’d have on the Latino community, especially his fans in South Florida.

Miami sports fans get a bad reputation for being fair weather fans. I grew up in South Florida and was blessed to start my career as a journalist in the same place where I spent most of my life. As a Miami sports fan and broadcaster I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty: we take care of our own. Fernandez was one of us. I woke up to a dozen or so text messages Sunday morning, all with the same heart breaking news; Fernandez had died in a boating accident near Miami Beach along with two other men. He was 24 years old. I read each message several times but still couldn’t believe it. I had a brief conversation with Fernandez just a few months ago when he was in San Diego for the MLB All-Star Game. The Cuban-born player was exactly that, an All-Star.

In 2014 Fernandez suffered an elbow injury and needed Tommy John surgery. Throughout his recovery he spent a generous amount of time helping the community. I caught up with Fernandez at a charity gala honoring the life a little girl who died after a long and valiant fight against cancer. He was dressed in a black tux and his lapel was burgundy to match the gala colors. We took a quick photo and he joked that we looked like we were attending the prom. Fernandez had that way about him. Whether you met him five years or five minutes ago, he made you feel like family.


His ties to South Florida run much deeper than his charity work. The Hispanic community, especially the Cuban-American community related directly to the ace. Fernandez defected from Cuba with his mother at the age of 15. On their fourth and final attempt to escape the communist country on a raft, Fernandez jumped in the water to save his mother from drowning. Like many Cubans, they left their homeland and most of their family members for a chance at a better life in the United States.

My parents left the Dominican Republic when I was three years old to give me a chance at a better life. Our journey to the United States was nowhere near as dangerous as Fernandez’s, but we knew what his struggle, his sacrifice and what his success meant for Latinos everywhere.

In 2013, during his first year in the MLB, Fernandez was named the National League Rookie of the Year. It came as no surprise to those of us watching him, but he still turned to his mother with his signature smile and said “Can you believe this is happening?” Yes, Jose, we could. What we can’t believe is that at 24 years old, with your entire future ahead of you and a baby on the way, your time here on Earth came to an end.

The pitcher credited his success to the support and sacrifice of his family, especially his abuela (grandmother). Every fan at Marlins Park shared in his joy the day his grandmother finally made it to Miami to watch him pitch in the major leagues for the very first time. For so many, it was more than just a touching moment; it was a symbol that if you work hard and stay humble, you can make it. When Fernandez made it, we ALL made it.

Watching Fernandez pitch was like attending a family gathering. If you’ve ever been to a Hispanic household on any holiday (or even just on a Tuesday for that matter), you know the joy of being “en familia” or part of the family. Even if you’re not a blood relative, the moment you step through the door you’re greeted with a smile, a huge hug and usually a full plate of food. When Fernandez took the mound it felt like he was welcoming you into his home. The bright colors of Marlins Park seemed more vibrant when he was on the hill. His infectious smile lit up the entire park.

The Miami Marlins canceled their Sunday afternoon game against the Atlanta Braves. MLB teams from across the league, including the San Diego Padres, paid tribute to Fernandez on Sunday. Many players, especially those with Hispanic roots, were overcome with emotion.

The Marlins played the New York Mets on Monday night. The ballpark wasn’t the same. There was no game day entertainment, there was little to no music; but worst of all, there was no Jose Fernandez. The Marlins put together a beautiful yet gut wrenching tribute for Fernandez before the game. I wondered how the players would make it through nine innings. Dee Gordon was the first player at bat for the Marlins that night. He took the first pitch from Bartolo Colon batting right handed as a tribute to Fernandez. He then switched to his usual left handed stance and what happened next can be called many things, perhaps even divine intervention. Gordon hit the leadoff homerun to put the Marlins up 1-0. It was his first homerun of the year. The entire ballpark erupted with cheers and tears. Gordon was overcome with emotion as his teammates hugged him in the dugout. Gordon says his homerun was not a coincidence.

“I ain’t ever hit a ball that far, even in BP. I told the boys, ‘If you all don’t believe in God, you better start.’ For that to happen today, we had some help.”

Wednesday afternoon a hearse holding Fernandez’s body left Marlins Park. His teammates, friends and fans joined his mother and grandmother as Fernandez left the ballpark for the final time. Those who loved Fernandez lined the streets of Miami to say their goodbyes during the processional. The city was at a standstill.

This isn’t just Miami’s loss, although South Florida certainly feels it a little more. The fans have literally watched him grow from a young prospect to an All-Star player. Fernandez was a direct representation of what I’ve been striving for my entire life, of what my parents sacrificed everything for, of what it means to be young a Latino growing up in America. He made me believe that every struggle, every setback and every risk is absolutely worth it when it’s in the pursuit of what makes you truly and profoundly happy. I’ll never forget the extraordinary athlete Fernandez was and what he brought to the game of baseball in his short career. But I will always remember how he made me feel. Athletes like Fernandez are the reason why I have dedicated my life to sharing my love of sports. Rest in peace, Jose. We’ll never forget you.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Chargers Get More Bad Injury News]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:09:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/170*120/King+Dunlap+vs+Chiefs.JPG

Although we knew on Sunday that Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon the Bolts finally put him on Injured Reserve on Wednesday. To take his place on the roster San Diego added inside linebacker Korey Toomer, who was signed off the Raiders practice squad.

Toomer has played 18 career NFL games dating back to 2010, mostly on special teams. The Bolts will likely be leaning on some combination of Jatavis Brown, Nick Dzubnar and Josh Perry to fill Te’o’s spot next to Denzel Perryman.

Brown was among the players limited in practice on Wednesday. He has a hamstring ailment, just like defensive end Joey Bosa. Right tackle Joe Barksdale has a foot injury and also missed part of the practice session.

Safety Jahleel Addae, tight end Antonio Gates, cornerback Brandon Flowers and left tackle King Dunlap all missed practice on Wednesday. Dunlap is the one that really catches your attention.

He shows up on the injury report with an “illness,” something that kept him out of Sunday’s game in Indianapolis. But head coach Mike McCoy offered clarification on what exactly Dunlap is dealing with.

“King is being treated for migraines,” said McCoy.

Dunlap has a history of concussions so McCoy was asked if the migraines were related to the traumatic brain injury. Now keep in mind McCoy has often used the phrase “I’m not a doctor” when asked about his players and their injuries, most famously in 2014 when it was revealed that Philip Rivers was playing with a severe rib injury.

But this time McCoy went ahead and offered a medical opinion: “This is not linked to concussions,” said McCoy. “It’s migraines.”

Concussions and migraines are two very different things and treated differently but it’s interesting McCoy would choose this medical topic to address specifically because his assertion that Dunlap’s migraines are not linked to concussions might be wrong.

A study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (the same facility that assisted Dr. Bennett Omalu in his discovery of CTE) published earlier this year tested this very thing. Researchers were looking for ways to determine if there is a diagnostic test to determine whether or not patients who suffer a concussion will develop post-traumatic migraines.

The study looked at 74 concussion patients, including 57 with post-traumatic migraines, with the goal of adding another kind of brain scan to common MRI tests. It may be a way to help prevent those predisposed to post-traumatic migraines from enduring them, or at least lessening the severity and frequency.

So while we don’t know if Dunlap’s migraines are tied to his concussions we don’t know if they’re not, either. Of course the bottom line here is Dunlap is one of the best linemen on the roster and a positive locker room influence so we wish him a quick and speedy recovery.

<![CDATA[El Cajon Mayor Promises Thorough Investigation, Transparency]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:53:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/El-Cajon-Mayor-Bill-Wells.jpg

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells promised a thorough investigation by multiple agencies, including the FBI, into the deadly police shooting of an unarmed black man that has prompted protests and uproar in the community.

Wells spoke about the police shooting of Alfred Olango for the first time Wednesday, just over 24 hours after the incident, and said the investigation was being handled by the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD), the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and the FBI.

He vowed complete transparency along the way, and said he'd share details of the investigation as they become available.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to heal the situation as quickly and thoroughly as I possibly can,” said Wells. “As we go through the process, we’re going to be transparent. We are open to dialogue, we are open to hearing your complaints.”

“This community is a strong community,” Wells said of El Cajon, adding that he understands that some residents “don’t feel heard” and want answers quickly.

The mayor said he had no problem with the protests Wednesday in the streets of El Cajon, so long as the demonstrations remained peaceful and, in his words, “as long as public safety is not compromised.”

“I’m begging El Cajon stay a peaceful, harmonious place that is safe for our citizens and safe for our children,” Wells added.

The mayor said the news of Olango's shooting death broke his heart.

"If it were my son, I’d be devastated," he said.

Joining Wells, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said the public must let authorities complete their investigation and “not jump to conclusions.”

“We stand united as we stand together here today,” said Jacob.

Olango was shot and killed by two officers with the El Cajon Police Department on Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 800 block of Broadway.

According to the ECPD, Olango was reported to be “acting erratically” and did not follow orders to remove his hands from the pockets of his pants when approached by two officers.

At one point during the encounter, police said Olango pulled an object from his pocket and pointed it at officers while assuming a “shooting stance.” The object, which has yet to be identified by police, was recovered at the scene, investigators said. No weapon was recovered.

As Olango pointed the object at the officers, one officer deployed a Taser while the second officer fired multiple rounds from his gun at the man, critically striking him.

The killing of Olango became the latest case in a disturbing series of highly-publicized police shootings of black men nationwide that have heightened racial tensions across America.

On Wednesday, protesters rallied in front of the ECPD demanding a thorough federal investigation into the police shooting of Olanga.

Hours later, protesters flooded the streets of El Cajon, marching down Broadway and to the scene where Olango was shot and killed by police. As they marched, many chanted, "Black lives matter!"

Dr. David Miyashiro, of the Cajon Valley Union School District, also spoke to reporters at the mayor’s conference, saying the community must set an example for the children of El Cajon on the heels of this difficult situation.

“Our children, in any community, [are] our most precious resource. It’s important for all of us to show children how a community can wrap its arms around itself with love,” said Miyashiro.

Miles McPherson, of the Rock Church, called for prayers for El Cajon.

“If there was ever a time you want to call out on God and mean it, it is now because our city, our county, and our nation is in trouble,” said McPherson. “Pray for our city – that we get through this and become better because of it.”

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Who Was Alfred Olango?]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 04:51:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/09-28-16-Alfred+Olango.JPG

A man shot and killed Tuesday in a confrontation with police in Southern California was a Ugandan refugee who friends say came to the U.S. at the age of 12 in search of protection from a regime seeking to kill his entire family. 

Alfred Olango, 38, was not acting like himself Tuesday afternoon when his sister called 911 for help. Olango was standing in the parking lot of a shopping center in El Cajon, a community approximately 30 miles east of downtown San Diego. By the police department’s account, officers approached him and demanded he remove a hand from his pocket. Olango was shot several times and died later at a nearby hospital.

The shooting is under investigation.

Like many police shootings, there is phone video from a nearby drive-through restaurant employee that captured the entire incident. El Cajon Police have released a still from the video. The entire video will be released in the future, according to Chief of Police Jeff Davis.

Lucy Peterson, who identified herself as Alfred’s sister, said she called police three times because her brother was “mentally perturbed and he needed help.”

She said her brother was running around and crossing the street.

“He almost got hit by the car,” she told NBC 7.

She said she was tailgating him with her car and wanted the police to get her brother help and possibly take him to the hospital.

“I did not call the officers so they could kill my brother in front of me,” Peterson said.

A friend of the family describes Olango as a caring, easy-going individual who often helped others.

Steven Oloya was in a refugee camp with Olango in the 1990s when Olango was about 12. Both families were part of the Acholi tribe from Northern Uganda.

Olango was born in Kampala, Uganda, according to a California report from 2001. He was one of nine children; records show he and his family came to the U.S. because Olango's father, who worked for the former Ugandan president and current president, sought to kill him and the entire family. They came to New York as refugees in 1991. 

The family eventually moved to San Diego. As Oloya describes it, Olango often stayed with Oloya's brother in a home along University Avenue in San Diego. He said Olango cared for his brother, cooked for him and took care of him before his death.

In San Diego, Olango's mother worked at Grossmont College in 2010. Olango dropped out of San Diego High School and later obtained a GED. He worked at Toro manufacturing and McDonald's. 

Reverend Shane Harris spoke with Olango's brother, who was not named, on his National Radio show Wednesday afternoon. Olango's brother said what people need to know about his brother is what a great father, son and brother he was to those he loved.

“Someone with a heart - a lions heart," his brother said. "He loved too much, you know.”

In 2001, Olango got married and had one child with his wife, documents show. The couple separated two years ago. 

He said his brother was a family man with two daughters; he said Olango was the glue in the family. Olango loved cooking, he said, and worked as a lead cook in restaurants. 

He said Olango aspired to open his own restuarant one day.

“We love each other very much and now we have to live without a key member," he said on Harris' radio show.

Olango had no known history of mental or emotional problems, according to Federal Court documents. However, he has an extensive criminal history. 

Most recently, in 2011, he was charged with driving under the influence in 2011. In 2005, Olango was pulled over for a traffic stop while driving a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice. Colorado police said he was uncooperative when they tried to arrest him for carrying a loaded, 9mm semi-automatic pistol.

The same year, he was also charged with driving with a fictitious plate, driving with a license under restraint and driving an unregistered car. Inside the car, Colorado police found 185 grams of marijuana, two Ecstasy pills, a scale, Ziploc bags, $948 in cash and a folding knife. 

Those were not Olango's only run-ins with the law. 

In 1996, court records show Olango was convicted for taking a person's car without consent, a charge that federal prosecutors added a gang enhancement to once officers found a replica silver automatic handgun on the 17-year-old, along with a pair of fur-lined black gloves and keys to the stolen vehicle.

In 1998, records show Olango was convicted for burglarizing a friend's home; he took audio equipment, CDs and a water bong.

Olango was charged with two DUIs in 1999 and 2000.

In 2001, he pleaded guilty to a felony charge selling crack cocaine.

A lieutenant with the El Cajon Police Department says officers were not at all aware of Olango's criminal history when they arrived on scene. 

Photo Credit: Facebook
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<![CDATA['No Justice': Crowds March Down El Cajon Streets]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 06:34:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/09-28-16-El-Cajon-Officer-Involved-Shooting-Protest.JPG

Demonstrators protesting the shooting death of an unarmed black man said to be "mentally perturbed" gathered in El Cajun for a second night of mostly peaceful protests, chanting slogans and holding signs.

Several hundred people took to the streets of the San Diego suburb, marching from the shooting scene to City Hall and back, shouting Alfred Okwera Olango's name, taunting police and periodically blocking traffic.

The 28-year-old refugee from the Uganda was fatally shot by police after allegedly taking a "shooting stance" while holding an object during a confrontation with officers in shopping center's parking lot, El Cajon police said. Police later confirmed Olango was holding a vape smoking device.  

The crowd staged a boisterous but peaceful rally near the site of Olango's death at the Broadway Plaza Shopping Center on Broadway, chanting "No justice, no peace," and holding "Black Lives Matter" signs. 


A tense situation unfolded earlier Wednesday evening after some sort of scuffle prompted the crowd to scatter, and forced police to call in back up. 

Officers in riot gear could be seen forming lines and blocking off streets, but mostly kept their distance. Demonstrators milled about the streets, but the mood grew more relaxed and the crowds gradually diminished.


Protests against the police shooting began earlier in the day, when crowds gathered and walked in between cars traveling in the opposite direction along Broadway.

Some protesters cursed as they marched while others screamed, "No violence! No violence!"

A dozen San Diego County Sheriff's deputies stood in a line across Broadway between Ballantyne Street and Mollison Avenue, in an apparent attempt to block protesters from getting on to State Route 67.

One woman, who was protesting with her son, told NBC 7 that she worries about him because he's black and she's white.

"It's just to bring attention to what's going on," Sara Bennett said. "I worry about him every day because of what's going on and how is it, they see me as a white woman and him as a black man. Its not fair, we need to be together."

Her son, Josiah, said he was out in the streets because he was tired of his mom worrying about him whenever he left the house.

"I shouldn't have to worry if I'm white, brown, black, purple, green," he said. "Doesn't matter. I want to feel safe and hang out and do what I want without police looking at me because I'm a certain color."

Protesters also held a candlelight memorial for Olango at the shooting scene on Broadway. They said his name multiple times and held a moment of silence before heading to the street for a sit-in.



Parkway Plaza in El Cajon, on the 400 block of Fletcher Parkway off Interstate 8, temporarily closed their doors Wednesday because of the protesters. 

"By request of local authorities and out of an abundance of caution, Parkway Plaza will be temporarily closed due to demonstrations in the area. We will let you know when we are scheduled to reopen," the Plaza said in a statement on their Facebook page.

El Cajon Police said the mall chose to close on its own.

On Tuesday, officers with the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) shot and killed Alfred Olango, a Ugandan refugee, during an encounter in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 800 block of Broadway. Police said Olango was reported to be "acting erratically" and did not follow orders to remove his hands from the pockets of his pants.

Police said at one point he pulled an object from his pants and pointed it at officers in a "shooting stance." Authorities later revealed the object was a vaping device.

The killing of Olango sparked outrage in the community amid racial tensions nationwide stemming from deadly police shootings of unarmed black men.

An NBC 7 news crew captured one confrontation between a protester and a sheriff's deputy.


“Pigs! Be scared! [You’re all] in riot gear because you’re all f---ing cowards!” the protester said.

Suddenly a woman nearby chimed in, directing her comment to the deputy, “No, you guys aren’t. You guys are doing your jobs."

"You may not be part of it, but your buddies are," another man shouted at law enforcement officers. "It's time to expose everybody."

A man wearing a shirt with the words #BlackLives tried to walk across the line formed by law enforcement but was quickly stopped by a deputy.

The man shouted that he was trying to get to his son on the other side of the line.

“Stop! Go back!” the deputy told the man.

“Are you kidding me?” the man asked the deputy. “You wonder why we gotta problem with you all? Are you serious?”

"Is not following police orders a justification for killing? This is Murder," said Christopher Rice-Wilson, the Associate Director at Alliance San Diego who was one of the protesters. 

Olango emigrated to the U.S. in 1991 when he was 12 years old.






Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[Police Shot El Cajon Suspect Minutes After Arriving at Scene]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:12:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/09-27-16-El-Cajon-Officer-Involved-Shooting-PIC.jpg

A black man reportedly acting erratically at a strip mall in suburban San Diego was shot and killed by El Cajon police a minute after they arrived on scene, authorities confirmed to NBC 7 San Diego. Police say the man pulled an object from his pocket, pointing it at officers and assuming a "shooting stance."

The man, 38, identified as Alfred Olango, was first reported to be walking in and out of traffic in the middle of the street and “not acting like himself,” when a woman police believe may be the man’s sister called officers for help just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

El Cajon Police Department Lt. Rob Ransweiler said two officers first arrived at the scene at approximately 2:10 p.m. Tuesday. The officer-involved shooting happened at 2:11 to 2:12 p.m., between one to two minutes after they arrived. 

El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said that when officers arrived on scene and located Olango, he “refused multiple instructions by the first officer on the scene,” and put his hands in his pants pocket. When officers arrived on scene, they were not aware of Olango's criminal history, as far as he knows, said Ransweiler. 

At the time, there was a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) in the area, but they were responding to another call of a reported man darting in and out of traffic. 

He allegedly pulled an object and held it out “like he would be firing a gun,” Davis said during a press conference on Tuesday night. Police identified the object as a vape device. 


"At one point the male rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together on it, and extended it rapidly toward the officer taking what appeared to be a shooting stance putting the object in the officer's face,” Davis said. 

The second officer on scene began to immediately prepare a less lethal electronic control device, or Taser, as the first officer covered him, Davis said. 


The officer deployed his Taser to try and subdue the subject, Davis said, though it is unclear whether the Taser struck the man. Davis said that aspect of the incident is under investigation. At the same time, the other officer fired his weapon. It is unclear how many shots were fired. 


Davis said there was also no indication that Olango was suffering an epileptic seizure during the encounter. Officers gave initial first aid to Olango before paramedics arrived and the man was then transported to an area hospital. 

Shortly after the shooting, a witness came forward and told officers she had video footage of the incident, Davis said. The witness “voluntarily provided” the cell phone video to the department and gave written consent for officers to use it.

“This was the only cell phone video provided to the officers and no cell phones were taken from anybody,” Davis said. He added that video from the scene coincides with the officers’ statements.

Officers with the El Cajon Police Department are not currently outfitted with body-worn cameras.


Following the incident, witnesses questioned the police motives in the shooting. Crowds gathering by the scene of the shooting began chanting, demanding answers from police. 

The protest was angry but peaceful. Several dozen people, most of them black, gathered and some cursed at officers guarding the scene, The Associated Press reported. They chanted "black lives matter!" and "hands up, don't shoot!" 

Davis urged the community to remain calm and said the investigation will be thorough. 

"This will be transparent," he said. "This will be looked at by multiple sets of eyes, and not just ours." 

The district attorney was on scene and also will investigate.

During the press conference, Davis also urged the community to cooperate with the investigation and come forward if they have any information.

"I would like to convey my sincerest appreciation to the community of El Cajon for the strength that they have shown in light of this tragic event," he said.

The woman they believe may be Olango's sister on scene has not cooperated with investigators, Davis said.


“As you can understand, she was upset; she was not cooperating with us,” Davis said. “We can’t even confirm that it was his sister.”

That woman is believed to have called the police to report the initial incident early Tuesday afternoon, Davis said. He added it took officers at least 50 minutes to arrive on scene after the first call.

El Cajon police are asking for the woman come forward, as she may have information they are looking for.

Davis said that the two officers involved in the shooting, who have not been identified, both have more than 21 years of service as police officers.

Both officers have been placed on administration leave.

The entire shooting was captured on cell phone video, but the video will not be released yet as it is part of an ongoing investigation, Davis said. The video will be released in full at a later date, he said. 

Meantime, other videos quickly surfaced showing the aftermath, according to the AP. In one posted to Facebook, an unidentified woman is heard telling police at the scene that the man was ordered to take his hand out of his pocket.

"I said: 'Take your hand out your pocket, baby, or they're going to shoot you.' He said 'no, no, no,' " the woman said. "When he lifted his hand out ... he did have something in his hand but it wasn't no gun, and that's when they shot him."

Lucy Peterson, who was wearing hospital-style work clothing, said she's Olango's sister. She appeared distraught, repeatedly shrieking and crying, telling officers that she had called them to help her brother, who she described as mentally ill.

"I just called for help, and you came and killed him," she said.

Olango was born in Uganda and emigrated to the U.S. in 1991 when he was 12 years old, NBC 7 has learned.

Michael Ray Rodriguez was among the witnesses who said the man had his hands in the air. He said that he was driving out of his apartment complex past the shooting scene and saw a shirtless black man with his hands raised.

The officer "let go of the trigger and shot him again and again," Rodriguez told the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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 questioning the actions of law enforcement officers in cases where encounters ended with African Americans being fatally shot.

El Cajon City council members approved the purchase of 88 body cameras this past May, but Davis said he was hoping to have the cameras in use by the start of 2017.

Pastor Miles McPherson of Rock Church followed Davis in the press conference and urged members in the community to pray, and to remain peaceful while the facts continue to unfold.


El Cajon, which is about 15 miles northeast of San Diego, has a population of about 100,000. It is 69 percent white and 6 percent black, according to 2010 census figures, and has become a home for many refugees fleeing Iraq and, more recently, Syria.

Photo Credit: El Cajon Police Department
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<![CDATA[Online Post Threatens Violence at Mt. Carmel High School]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 10:40:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mt-Carmel-HS-Google-Maps.jpg

A disturbing message posted to social media late Tuesday threatened gun violence at Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego, school officials confirmed.

San Diego Police received a call at 10:26 p.m. Wednesday from someone reporting the threat posted to Instagram.

Police officers say a 16-year-old student posted a picture of a gun with text similar to the phrase "tomorrow it's going down."

Investigators took the post as a threat to the teenager's school.

The student responsible for the post was located at his home after midnight and taken to a nearby medical facility for an evaluation. No weapon was recovered, police said.

Greg Magno, the principal of the high school in the Poway Unified School District, sent a note about the incident to families Wednesday morning saying that the late-night social media post “was used to circulate a threat about the school.”

However, he said quick reporting by vigilant members of the Rancho Penasquitos community led authorities to the person suspected of making the post.

“Because of our community’s willingness to report early and often, Mt. Carmel Administration and SDPD were able to work through the early morning to investigate this,” Magno’s note stated.

On Wednesday, the principal said police officers and school administrators would continue to work closely together to speak with the person responsible for the post.

There is no threat to Mt. Carmel High School related to the post, Magno said.

Poway Unified School District spokesperson Christine Paik told NBC 7 school is in session as normal. She said Magno has been meeting with parents throughout the morning who have come to the campus with concerns.

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Cellphone Video Key Evidence in El Cajon Shooting: PD]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:14:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/El+cajon+OIS+11.png

A police shooting in California resulted in the death of an African-American man Tuesday and video shot by a nearby drive-through clerk holds key evidence to what led to the confrontation, authorities said.

The man, now identified as Alfred Olango, was shot in an encounter with police near the Los Panchos restaurant in El Cajon Tuesday at approximately 1 p.m. The shooting happened on the 700 block of Broadway at North Mollison Avenue, El Cajon Police said. The location is just north of Interstate 8 and west of State Route 67.

Maria, an employee at the restaurant told NBC 7 that police came into the restaurant after the shooting. Officers took away one employee’s phone and told the crew they could not talk to anyone.

She said one of her coworkers had captured video of the entire shooting incident from the drive-through of the restaurant. The video apparently showed Olango shirtless, with his hands by his waistband and refusing to comply with the officers.

El Cajon Police verified that the video shows the entire incident but only one cell phone was turned over to authorities. They said the employee also voluntarily turned over the cell phone containing the video.

However, according to Maria, all of the cellphones were taken away by police, not voluntarily turned over.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego and Imperial Counties, confiscating cell phones violates the First and Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

In a statement, the ACLU said: “The public has the right to film police in public places, and police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photos or video without a warrant. Under no circumstances may police officers delete your photos or videos.”

A spokesperson for the El Cajon Police Department said the San Diego District Attorney’s office will be investigating the shooting and will decide when to release the video.

Los Panchos was placed under lock down for some time with several customers and employees inside.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Earthquake Swarm Shakes Imperial and San Diego Counties]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:56:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/el-centro-quake-092616.jpg

One day after a swarm of more than 20 earthquakes occurred at the Salton Sea, another series of earthquakes was recorded.

Six earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 2.6 to 3.6 were recorded Tuesday.

On Monday, 24 earthquakes, the strongest of which was a magnitude 4.3 quake, rattled Imperial County. 

The epicenter is nearly 60 miles northwest of El Centro and nearly 100 miles southeast of Palm Springs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The quakes were felt as far away as Long Beach, according to responses posted to the USGS website.

<![CDATA[Joyrider Vandalizes Death Valley]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:43:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/208*120/09-28-2016-death-valley-racetrack-playa-33.jpg

Miles of tire tracks left behind by someone out for a joyride mark the latest act of vandalism in California's Death Valley National Park.

The tracks in the hottest, driest place on earth extend for about 10 miles, including looping patterns likely created by doughnuts from the sport utility vehicle's tires, on the fragile surface of the park's "Racetrack Playa." The scars will likely remain on the surface for years because exposed loose silt can be blown away by strong winds, causing a depression in the dry soil.

The remote dry lake is known for unusual tracks, but not the man-made kind.

In 2014, scientists unraveled the mystery behind the Playa's "moving rocks," which appeared to leave jagged trails in the surface. The researchers found that large sheets of ice were pushed by winds into the rocks, acting as a sail that moved the rocks across the lake bed.

But there was no mystery behind the SUV tire tracks, discovered in August by a park ranger. A GPS rendering of the route shows the SUV driver traveled erratically back and forth along the lake bed, made several sharp turns and turned a few doughnuts.

"We are hopeful that someone will be charged in this case," Abby Wines, a park spokeswoman, told the Los Angeles Times, adding that investigators have a "strong lead."

Federal investigators told the Times they have identified a suspect believed responsible for the vandalism.

Authorities did not release the suspect's name.

The destructive driving case comes after three men were charged in May in connection with damage to a Death Valley National Park rock tub. A federally endangered Devil's Hole Pupfish was found dead at the site. 

The suspects in that case were identified through DNA left at the crime scene. The park service also released surveillance video of the shotgun-wielding men as they broke into Devil's Hole.

In June, a San Diego woman pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of defiling rocks formations at Death Valley and other national parks.

Photo Credit: Death Valley National Park]]>
<![CDATA[Worker Dies in Accident at East Village Construction Site]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:38:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/construction+worker+dies+0928.JPG

A construction worker died on Wednesday morning after a column panel fell on him at a construction site in East Village, fire officials said.

The accident happened just before 9 a.m. at the construction site at 460 16th St. The man, whose name and age have not been released, died at the scene, San Diego fire officials said.

The accident happened, a Department of Industrial Relations spokeswoman said, when another employee was about to pour concrete into a form and the form fell over, toppling over on the other worker.

The state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Salk Institute Researcher Stole Chemicals for Years]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 10:53:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/197*120/Salk-Institute-San-Diego-GoogleMaps-0901.jpg

A world-reknowned research facility in California confirmed Wednesday that one of its researchers stole chemicals used in its research for more than two decades.

The Salk Institute, founded by Jonas Salk and known for groundbreaking biological research, released details regarding the theft through a written statement.

A former research scientist, Jozsef Gulyas, removed chemicals from its laboratories without authorization during his 21-year career.

The discovery was made after Gulyas’ death, according to the institute.

The chemicals were found in the employee’s home and in storage lockers he had rented, according to the institute.

No details were given on what chemicals were stolen. The institute did not release the location of the home or storage units.

“The Salk Institute is committed to the safe use and disposal of all chemicals used in its research programs and has been in close contact with the governmental agencies involved in cleanup operations, which are ongoing,” the statement reads.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Rally Speaker: 'We Have Cameras Now']]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:59:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RallyCamerasNow_1200x675_774890051750.jpg One of the speakers at a community rally in El Cajon, California argues that this type of violence is nothing new. The rally was held after Alfred Olango was shot and killed in a confrontation with El Cajon Police. ]]> <![CDATA[El Cajon Police Shooting 'Wasn't Right': Family Friend]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:56:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/rallyfamilyfriend_1200x675_774894659893.jpg Agnes Hassan, who identified herself as a family friend of Alfred Olango, the man shot by El Cajon Police, spoke at a community rally Wednesday.]]>