Fatal Officer Shooting of Alfred Olango and Four Others Ruled Justified: DA | NBC Southern California

Fatal Officer Shooting of Alfred Olango and Four Others Ruled Justified: DA

Dumanis said in all five fatal shootings -- involving victims David Moya, Sergio Weick, Alfred Olango, Juan Carlos Fernandez and Trenton Lohman -- the law enforcement officers were justified in their decisions.

The District Attorney's Office released video footage from five fatal officer and deputy-involved shootings in San Diego last year, including an incident involving the shooting death of Alfred Olango by police in El Cajon. NBC 7's Artie Ojeda has more on the DA's decision to clear the officers involved. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017)

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis's review of five fatal officer and deputy-involved shootings in recent months concluded law enforcement was justified in each incident, including the high profile police shooting of Alfred Olango. 

Dumanis said in all five fatal shootings -- involving victims David Moya, Sergio Weick, Alfred Olango, Juan Carlos Fernandez and Trenton Lohman -- the law enforcement officers were justified in their decisions. 

In the controversial case of Olango, Dumanis added that the only reasonable conclusion after looking at the facts of the case was that the "officer's actions were legally justified and understandable."

The DA's office also released statistics from a report compiled about officer-involved shootings.

Over a four year period, 34 people were fatally shot and 27 were shot and wounded, Dumanis said. Twenty seven of those fatally shot were white, 26 were Hispanic, five were black and three were Asian. 

Alfred Olango
Shooting happened Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016

Alfred Olango, 38, was shot and killed by El Cajon police officers on Tuesday, Sept. 27. He was first reported to be walking in and out of traffic in the middle of the street and “not acting like himself,” when his sister called officers for help.

El Cajon Police Department Lt. Rob Ransweiler said two officers first arrived at the scene at approximately 2:10 p.m. Tuesday. The officer-involved shooting happened at 2:11 to 2:12 p.m., between one to two minutes after they arrived.

Video of the shooting captured Officer Gonsalves approaching Olango in the parking lot of a strip mall in El Cajon, then firing several rounds just moments later.

WARNING: ECPD Release Video of Alfred Olango ShootingWARNING: ECPD Release Video of Alfred Olango ShootingEl Cajon police on Friday released surveillance and cellphone video of the officer-involved shooting of Alfred Olango. (WARNING: The video is graphic and may be disturbing.) (Published Friday, Sept. 30, 2016)

El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said Olango refused multiple instructions to remove his hand from in his pocket before he pulled out an object and held it in front of him “like he would be firing a gun.” The object was later determined to be a vaping device.

The ECPD said officers called PERT, a psychiatric emergency response team that deals with calls involving subjects in mental distress, to help with Olango before their encounter with him, but that team was not immediately available because it was responding to another call in the area.

Dumanis said their review does not review policy or procedure. However, she wanted to clarify a common police practice come under question in this particular case. 

"It’s worth noting that it is common police practice for one officer to arm themselves with lethal backup in case the less lethal option is not effective," she said.

Dumanis did not show any new footage in the case, as the El Cajon Police Department had released the two videos that captured the incident earlier. 

Dumanis said a special operations division, prosecutors and Dumanis herself examined the case and visited the scene before making their decision on whether the officers would face charges. 

"After carefully reviewing the facts, the evidence and the law we’ve determined the officer’s use of deadly force was reasonable under the circumstances and he bears no criminal liability for his actions," Dumanis said.

She added that the only reasonable conclusion after looking at the facts of the case was that the "officer's actions were legally justified and understandable."

Dumanis touched on the widespread media attention Olango’s case has garnered and mentioned the protests sparked by the case.

"In many ways, the response in San Diego County to this officer-involved shooting is reflective of a bigger picture, in conversations that are happening across the nation," Dumanis said. "We’re living in a time where the actions of police officers are under scrutiny more than ever."

Dumanis said the circumstances surrounding Olango's death are tragic and said law enforcement would continue to work with the community as they have in the past. 

"I understand the desire among some to voice their anger and disagreement over this decision but its also my genuine hope that people can direct anger into a constructive conversation that focuses on a positive change," Dumanis said.

David Moya
Shooting happened on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016

David Moya, 31, was shot and killed after a SWAT standoff in Santee. Deputies said Moya allegedly threatened to kill his mother when he holed up in a home on Woodglen Vista Drive. 

During the standoff, he was armed withed a crossbow to fire arrows at deputies; deputies later determined armored unique hunting arrows meant to penetrate an animal's skin and could penetrate Kevlar suits. 

Deputies, fearing for their lives, returned fire. He was found dead inside the home when deputies went inside. 

The DA's review found the deputies fired in their own defense, Dumanis said.

"Based on these circumstances, the facts, and the law, they bear no criminal liability for their actions," Dumanis said.

Trenton Lohman
Shooting happened on Aug. 18, 2016

Trenton Lohman, 38, was shot and killed in Poway on Aug. 18.The incident started on Aug. 18 when deputies responded to reports of suspicious activity in the parking lot of an auto repair shop on Poway Road.

When a deputy arrived on scene, he was confronted by Lohman - who produced a handgun and pointed it at the deputy, according to SDSO Lt. Kenn Nelson. The deputy, fearing for his life, fired multiple rounds, Nelson said. 

Lohman had then attempted to leave in his own vehicle but was blocked by several deputies arriving on scene. He then got into a deputy’s patrol car and drove off, leading police on a pursuit through Poway.

During the pursuit, Lohman got out of the patrol car and carjacked a person at gunpoint at the intersection of Espola and Poway roads. He had driven approximately 100 yards in the SUV when four deputies fired at him.

Lohman was shot in the upper body and the SUV veered off the road and down into a ravine. He was found dead inside the vehicle. An autopsy revealed Lohman had methamphetamine in his system. 

According to SDSO, deputies found another gun, a hatchet, ammunition and knives inside the hijacked SUV.

The behavior during the entire incident "reasonably caused the deputies to believe someone would be killed or seriously injured by Mr. Lohman if they did not act immediately to end his reckless and threatening behavior," Dumanis said. 

"Based off these facts, the evidence and the law, the deputies use of deadly force in this instance was reasonable and they bear no criminal liability for their actions," Dumanis said.

The Sheriff's Department is not equipped with body-worn cameras and there is no video from either locations, Dumanis said. A witness did try to take video of part of the incident, but it did not capture the shooting. 

Sergio Weick
Shooting happened on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016

Sergio Weick, 33, was shot and killed after a confrontation with deputies last year. San Diego County Sheriff's deputies say Weick was a known gang member and had a warrant out for his arrest when they spotted him leaving the home of another known gang member in Vista. 

The sighting soon led to a short high-speed, wrong-way pursuit through Vista until Weick's car crashed - and deputies pursued him on foot through a condo complex, deputies said. 

The foot chase ended when deputies Peter Myers and Christopher Villanueva caught up to Weick standing near some bushes.

Deputies shot Weick on the left side of his body when they say he reached for his waist and “appeared to reach for a weapon." The deputy yelled several times for Weick to put his hands up, Dumanis said. 

Fearing the suspect was holding a gun, one deputy shot Weick. A second deputy then saw Weick reach for a what appeared to be a gun on his left hip. "Fearing he was about to be shot, that deputy also shot Mr. Weick," Dumanis said. 

Weick collapsed and deputies handcuffed him. He later died.

An autopsy report shows Weick was shot 18 times and suffered 27 separate wounds as a result. 

Investigators say Weick had shotgun shells and knives on him. They later found a sawed-off shotgun, knives and drug paraphernalia in his car.

No video of the incident exists because Sheriff's deputies are not equipped with body worn cameras, Dumanis said. 

Juan Carlos Fernandez
Shooting happened on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016

Juan Fernandez, 45, was shot and killed in City Heights by police after he shot his ex-wife and three members of the family at their apartment on Marlborough Avenue. 

Police say Fernandez got into a fistfight with his 21-year-old ex-wife's boyfriend over their relationship. After the fight, Fernandez went to his car, took out a gun from the glove compartment, and returned to the apartment. 

The father tried to wrestle the gun away from Fernanez when he was shot; he later died. 

The 21-year old's mother had hugged her in an attempt to protect her from the bullets and was fatally shot. 

Fernandez grabbed his ex-wife by the hair and dragged her to the vehicle, attempting to put her into the car. Fernandez put the victim in a headlock and put a gun to her head, Dumanis said. He pulled the trigger and the victim heard the gun click, but it did not fire, Dumanis said. 

When a San Diego Police officer arrived on scene and saw Fernandez with his gun to his ex-wife's head, he ordered him to put his gun on the ground and let go of his ex-wife. 

When negotiations with the suspect by police were unsuccessful, an officer, a 12-year veteran, fatally shot him.

Body worn camera footage shows officers arriving and running on foot to the area where Fernandez was holding his ex-wife. Video from the SDPD helicopter shows the moments before and after the shooting. 

"As you can imagine the impact of Mr. Fernandez's actions on his ex wife’s family have been devastating," Dumanis said. "The officer’s use of deadly force was expected and reasonable under the circumstances and he bears no criminal liability for his actions because they were legally justified under the facts, the evidence and the law."

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