Angry demonstrations stemming from the death of 30-year-old Uganda native Alfred Olango began Tuesday afternoon and again Wednesday morning, shortly after he was mortally wounded during a confrontation with officers outside a fast-food restaurant near the intersection of Interstate 8 and state Route 67.
Protesters contend that the officer who shot Olango was unduly quick to open fire and that the decision was at least in part racially motivated.
Police officials stated that Olango was uncooperative when contacted by patrol personnel, repeatedly refused to remove one of his hands from a pants pocket, assumed “what appeared to be a shooting stance,'' produced a vape smoking device and pointed it toward one of the officers.
A protest rally at the site of the shooting continued into the evening.
Wednesday night, the demonstrators paraded through town, shouting, chanting and carrying signs, near the area where the deadly encounter had played out. A news photographer was attacked and his camera stolen in the parking lot of Los Ponchos just after midnight.
"The police department is aware of, and will investigate, an incident in which a camera was forcibly taken from a photo journalist," officials said in a statement Thursday. "The department urges all community members to remain calm during these trying times and allow the process of the investigation to continue while allowing the community to safely voice their concerns."
At times, the crowds blocked off Broadway in El Cajon. At one point, protesters tried to make their way onto Interstate 8.
The disruptions prompted the operators of nearby Parkway Plaza to close the busy mall for the remainder of the day. Police units used the vacant area as a staging base of operations.
Nearby, a candlelight vigil was held in memory of Olango at the scene where he was shot.