Protesters gathered in the San Diego area on Tuesday after a man was fatally shot by police.
The incident happened in the city of El Cajon, about 16 miles northeast of San Diego.
El Cajon police said officers were responding to reports of a man acting erratically. In a press release describing the incident, the department said the man, an African-American in his 30s, was “walking in traffic.”
Local news outlets cited family members who identified the man as Alfred Olanga.
As two officers tried to detain Olanga, police said he kept one hand in his pocket.
“At one point, the subject rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together and extended them rapidly toward the officer taking up what appeared to be a shooting stance,” the police department’s press release noted.
The department published a still image captured from video obtained from a witness. The image appears to show the confrontation between the officers and Olanga.
One of the responding officers deployed a “less lethal electronic control device,” police said. Another officer fired several shots from his service weapon, hitting Olanga.
The man later died at a hospital as a result of his injuries.
Demonstrators gathered at the scene, chanting and criticising the way police handled the situation.
One man said he was driving out of a nearby apartment building as the incident unfolded, according to a report from The San Diego Union-Tribune. Michael Ray Rodriguez said, in a matter of seconds, an officer opened fire.
“[The officer] let go of the trigger and shot him again and again,” Rodriguez said, adding he heard five shots, The Union-Tribune reported.
Investigators were on site for several hours before the police department officially addressed the incident in a late-night news conference.
A department spokesman urged the public to remain calm and said the agency plans to be “open and transparent” as the investigation continues.
El Cajon police do not have body cameras, The Union-Tribune reported. El Cajon police Lt. Rob Ransweiler told the newspaper that the department recently completed a pilot program with body cameras, and ordered them.
“The equipment has not been delivered,” Ransweiler said.
The shooting follows weeks of demonstrations after black men were fatally shot by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma and in Charlotte, North Carolina, cases which themselves have reignited a historically fraught discussion about police relations, specifically in communities of colour.
So far this year, at least 715 people have been fatally shot by police, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.
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