A black man has died after being shot by police 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 was reportedly behaving “erratically” behind a local restaurant at the Broadway Village Shopping Center, Lt. Rob Ransweiler said.
According to the call, the man was “not acting like himself” and 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 the 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 the object found was — or if it was a weapon.
Police have not released the name of the man, because they wanted to notify family members first.
Both officers, whose names haven’t been released yet, will be placed on a three-day administrative leave. Both officers involved in the incident have more than two decades of experience as police officer, Davis said.
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 local 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.”
In response to the shooting, CNN affiliate KUSI said that about 200 people gathered near the scene of the incident in El Cajon, located about 15 miles outside San Diego, Tuesday night.
“We all want the right thing to happen,” Rock Church Pastor Miles McPherson said Tuesday night. “We always want to truth to come out, but we want it to come out in a peaceful way.”
After El Cajon Police held a news conference early Wednesday morning, protesters surrounded the entrance of the headquarters, carrying signs that call for an end to police brutality, according to CNN affiliate KUSI. The crowd had started to dwindle shortly before midnight.
“It kind of makes you think, ‘Hey, that could be me,’” protester Caleb Quarles told CNN affiliate KGTV. “That could one of my friends. That could even be my mom.”