San Diego

Medical Examiner Releases Autopsy of Police Shooting Victim Alfred Olango

Earlier this month, a review by the San Diego County District Attorney's office found the law enforcement officer who fatally shot Alfred Olango was justified.

El Cajon police shooting victim Alfred Olango was Tased and shot four times simultaneously during a confrontation with officers, according to an autopsy report released Thursday by the Medical Examiner's office (ME). 

Alfred Olango, 38, was shot and killed by El Cajon police officers on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. He was first reported to be walking in and out of traffic in the middle of the street and “not acting like himself,” when his sister called officers for a psychiatric evaluation, according to the ME's report.

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.

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.

Video of the shooting captured Officer Gonsalves approaching Olango in the parking lot of a strip mall in El Cajon, then firing several rounds just moments later.

El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said Olango refused multiple instructions to remove his hand from in his pocket before he pulled out an object and held it in front of him “like he would be firing a gun.” The object was later determined to be a vaping device.

Accoding to the ME's report, after Olango pulled the object from his pants pocket, one officer simoultaneously deployed a Taser while the other officer fired four shots at Olango. 

The autopsy found Olango had four gunshot wounds and one graze wound. The bullets hit his neck and torso.

Cocaine, levamisole (an antihelmintic, also used as a cutting agent in cocaine), Cocaethylene (an active compound formed in the body by the liver when cocaine and ethanol are both in the bloodstream), and etomidate (an anesthetic), were found in his blood during a toxicology test. 

After the shooting, paramedics took Olango to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he was stabilized and taken to the operating room. While surgeons were performing an emergent thoracotomy and exploratory laparotomy, Olango went into shock and despite life saving measures, he was pronounced dead. 

The ME's office ruled the death a homicide; the cause of death was determined to be multiple gunshot wounds. 

A review by the San Diego County District Attorney's office this month concluded that the officer who fatally shot Olango was justified in using lethal force. 

DA Bonnie Dumanis said that the only reasonable conclusion after looking at the facts of Olango's case was that the "officer's actions were legally justified and understandable."

Dumanis said their review does not review policy or procedure. However, she wanted to clarify a common police practice come under question in this particular case. 

"It’s worth noting that it is common police practice for one officer to arm themselves with lethal backup in case the less lethal option is not effective," she said.

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