EL CAJON, Calif. — A black man has died after police shot him in El Cajon, California, sparking protests in the suburb northeast of San Diego.
On Tuesday afternoon, El Cajon police responded to a 911 call regarding an African-American man in his 30s who reportedly was behaving “erratically” behind a restaurant at the Broadway Village Shopping Center, Lt. Rob Ransweiler said.
‘Not acting like himself’
According to the call, the man was “not acting like himself” and had been walking in traffic in a manner that endangered himself and motorists, police Chief Jeff Davis said.
“When (officers) contacted him, he failed to comply with the directives that he was given,” Ransweiler said.
Instead, Davis said the man kept his hands concealed in his pockets while pacing back and forth. As a second officer prepared a Taser, the man “rapidly drew an object,” placed both hands on it “like you would be holding a firearm” and stood in a “shooting stance,” according to police.
In response, one officer fired his gun at the man, while a second officer discharged his Taser, Davis said. It’s not clear if the man was armed. According to Davis, investigators did not find a firearm at the scene of the shooting. Investigators did not say what object was found — or if it was a weapon.
‘They killed my brother’
In the aftermath of the shooting and the man’s death, Rumbie Mubaiwa began filming on Facebook Live.
In the video, a distraught woman says she called 911 to get help for the man she says is her brother. She describes him as “sick.” Several police are on the scene. One interviews a witness and two put up yellow police tape. Several officers can be seen congregating in the background as the sister sits on a rock wailing.
“You guys killed my brother in front of me,” she cries, as Mubaiwa records the scene. “Why couldn’t you guys Tase him? Why? Why? Why? Why?”
Police say they have not been able to confirm whether she is related to the victim. As a result, police have not released the name of the man, because they want to notify family members first.
Ransweiler encouraged El Cajon residents to be patient as investigators looked into the shooting. Per county protocol, Davis said El Cajon police would not release video footage collected from witnesses and local businesses until the district attorney has had a chance to review the evidence.
“Now is the time for calm,” Davis said. “Now is the time for the investigation to shed light on this event. … Now is the time for the community to work with us.”
The names of both officers involved in the shooting haven’t been released. They will be placed on a three-day administrative leave. The two have more than two decades of experience as police officers, Davis said.
“We all want the right thing to happen,” Rock Church pastor Miles McPherson said Tuesday night. “We always want the truth to come out, but we want it to come out in a peaceful way.”
‘We just want to grieve’
In response to the shooting, CNN affiliate KUSI-TV said that about 200 people gathered Tuesday night near the scene in El Cajon, about 15 miles outside San Diego.
After El Cajon police held a news conference, protesters surrounded the entrance of the headquarters, carrying signs calling for an end to police brutality, KUSI reported. The crowd started to dwindle shortly after the news briefing.
“It kind of makes you think, ‘Hey, that could be me,’ ” protester Caleb Quarles told CNN affiliate KGTV-TV. “That could one of my friends. That could even be my mom.”
Early Wednesday, eight African-American mourners were still in the parking lot where the man had been shot. They had silently formed a circle, praying as they held hands, faintly illuminated by religious candles.
“Obviously we knew him or we wouldn’t be here this late,” one of the mourners said. “We just want to grieve.”
They drove away moments later.