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.”