Alfred Olango's Family To Hold Candlelight Vigil Two Years After Fatal El Cajon Shooting
A day before the two-year anniversary of the shooting death of Alfred Olango, family members and activists gathered Wednesday to renew a call to action.
The unarmed black man was shot four times by El Cajon police officer Richard Gonsalves on Sept. 27, 2016, after Olango pulled an electronic cigarette device out of his pocket and gestured toward Gonsalves and another officer.
The officers were responding to three 911 calls made by Olango’s sister, in which she asked for psychological assistance because Olango wasn’t acting like himself.
Alfred Olango’s youngest brother, Tony Abuka, was one of the first people at the scene after his brother was shot.
“It definitely feels like it was just yesterday,” Abuka said. “Since that day, you wake up and it’s something that’s always on your mind. But we definitely plan to make something positive come from something so negative.”
Abuka now helps run the Alfred Olango Foundation, which advocates for police reform and helps other families going through similar ordeals.
“Alfred Olango didn’t deserve to die. He deserved to live. He was a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, and a true friend. All that wiped away in just seconds. We’re here two years later still standing tall, still standing strong, to show that Alfred Olango’s still living through us,” Abuka said. “We’ll continue to seek justice for people like Alfred Olango and others who have fell victim to these same issues.”
One of the ways they are seeking justice is by calling for the immediate firing of Gonsalves. Then San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis eventually cleared Gonsalves last January, ruling that the shooting was justified — but activists Wednesday said that El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis still has the authority to fire the officer.
“The war is not over. He killed my son, he’s dead. But we are going to continue fighting, and he will never be happy in his life because he owes us a life,” said Olango’s father, Richard Olango Abuka, who immigrated with his son to El Cajon from Uganda.
“He has killed my pillar,” Olango Abuka said of his son, who was 38 when he died. “He was the pillar of the family. It hurts.”
He said a court date for a wrongful death suit has been set for April 9, 2019.
“We have been complaining, complaining, complaining. Nothing is changing. Since Alfred was killed, a lot of people have been killed, even here in San Diego. So it is a culture that has been developed and unless a solution is (sought), it will not stop.”
The family is holding a march at 7 p.m., Saturday, from the Pancho's Taco Shop on Broadway where the shooting happened, to a park across from the courthouse, where they’ll hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Olango.