El Cajon

DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE OVERNIGHT IN EL CAJON: TEAR GAS DEPLOYED AS PROTEST TURNS VIOLENT

 

2 men wanted for stealing photojournalist’s $15,000 camera Wednesday night

By Miriam Raftery

September 30, 2016 (El Cajon)--Demonstrations continued overnight in El Cajon over the killing of Alfred Olango Tuesday by police.

  After receiving several 911 calls of 50-70 protesters blocking cars and breaking car windows, police declared an unlawful assembly. 10 News reports that tear gas and pepper balls were deployed by police. The station posted video of the incident and reported that protesters also knocked a motorcyclist off a motorcycle. Glass bottles were also thrown at officers. Two arrests were made, according to police.

 “A large group of demonstrators marched through the streets throughout the evening and into the early morning hours,”said Lieutenant Rob Ransweiler.

Police are also investigating theft of a $15,000 camera taken forcibly from a photojournalist.   A video viewed by 250,000 people on social media has led to identification one suspect, San Diego News Video reports.  Public help is requested to identify a second subject shown at the end of a video here: https://www.facebook.com/SDNVtv/videos/918156954956981/

OFFICER INVOLVED IN EL CAJON SHOOTING HAD BEEN DEMOTED FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT

 

Women officers have fewer use of force incidents, but only 9% of ECPD officers are women. Could more females on the force have prevented death of Alfred Olango?

By Miriam Raftery

September 29, 2016 (El Cajon)—Mayor Bill Wells has confirmed that the officer who fired the fatal shots in Tuesday’s controversial shooting of Alfred Olango was  Richard Gonsalves—the same officer embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal last year. 

Could a culture that encouraged women officers to join the force have perhaps prevented Tuesday’s tragedy, before Olango pulled out a vaping device mistaken for a gun?

Multiple studies over 40 years have shown  that women police officers  are better at defusing tense situations and have significantly lower use-of-force rates than male officers,  the Washington Post recently reported.

For example, A 2002 study by the National Center for Women & Policing of excessive force incidents in seven major city police departments found that “the average male officer is over eight and a half times more likely than his female counterpart to have an allegation of excessive force sustained against him … [and] two to three times more likely than the average female officer to have a citizen name him in a complaint of excessive force.”

But the El Cajon Police Department has long drawn criticism for tolerating sexual harassment  and other sexual misconduct by male officers toward women on the force--hardly a history conducive to attracting women seeking careers in law enforcement.

UNREST GROWS IN EL CAJON: MAN KILLED POINTED VAPING DEVICE AT OFFICERS,HAD CRIMINAL RECORD

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, by Rebecca Williamson, during vigil at shooting sight this evening

September 28,2016 (El Cajon) –Amid mounting tensions and protests this evening,  El Cajon Police released updates in yesterday’s fatal shooting of Alfred Okwera Olango.  

The updated information reveals the Olango, an El Cajon resident, drew a vape smoking device from his pocket and pointed it at officers. The release also indicates a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team was unavailable due to being dispatched to another call.

A 10 News investigation found  Olango had a criminal record including  a 2005 arrest in Colorado as a felon in possession of a firearm—a semi-automatic pistol in the vehicle he was driving. He also pled guilty to receiving stolen property and driving under the influence in 1999, as well as selling cocaine in 2001.

In this confrontation, however, Olango did not have a gun or any other weapon.  The Ugandan refugee who came to America  after death threats to his famliy was shot and killed after his sister called officers for help due to her brother's erratic actions.

Tonight, crowds clashed with police.  While organizers of a march and vigil sought to keep the peace, some protesters reportedly threw bottles at police and chased a counter-protester wearing a Trump hat after he shouted racial slurs.

PARKWAY PLAZA EVACUATED, CAR SHOW SHUTDOWN AMID UNREST AFTER POLICE SHOOTING

 

 

By Rebecca Williamson and Miriam Raftery

Photo, left,by Rebecca Williamson: Marchers at Mollison near Broadway

September 28, 2016 (El Cajon) – Parkway Plaza regional shopping center is shut down for tonight after protests spilled into the mall over yesterday’s fatal police shooting of Alfred  Olango, 38, an unarmed African-American man with mental health issues.  Marketing director Ken Gray told  ECM the mall shut down for the night on advice of police.

“ Where I work, a lot of people were crying and screaming,” Gage Miller told  East County Magazine shortly after police evacuated the Walmart store where he works and escorted everyone outside. He said around 3 p.m., “lots of people were marching in the mall and going into the movie theatre…Walmart had to put its gates down. Protesters were spraying water from water bottles all around.”

PROTESTS ERUPT IN EL CAJON; BLACK MAN SHOT BY POLICE DIES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: El Cajon Police

Photos (rest) by Robert Gehr (c)

September 28, 2016 (El Cajon)—A shooting of a mentally ill African-American man by El Cajon Police yesterday  has sparked anger among some community members, though police have released a photo suggesting the man assumed a “shooter’s stance” before he was shot and killed.

Following a press conference this morning by police, civil rights leaders spoke at a press conference calling for a federal investigation.  Marches were held downtown and a candlelight vigil is planned tonight at 6 p.m. the El Cajon Police Station forAlfred Olango, 38.

HAVE YOU SEEN OUR NEWSLETTER?

 

September 2, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- Our latest newsletter just came out --with all the hottest news and events impacting you in East County all in one single-page newsletter.  You can view the latest edition here.   

To get a free subscription to our weekly newsletter-- and also the option to get free wildfire and emergency alerts, click here

Tell your friends and family!

FROM POT SHOPS TO SCHOOL BONDS TO A BUILDER’S BONANZA: INITIATIVES ON EAST COUNTY BALLOTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 1,2016  (San Diego’s East County) – Beyond the blizzard of ballot measures statewide and candidates on your November ballot, East County voters will be asked to weigh in on a variety of local initiatives with big impacts.

Those include countywide measures:  one a tax to fund transportation, the other  a measure that would set a precedent for developers to  evade environmental reviews by taking projects directly to voters.   There are also medical marijuana dispensary measures on the ballots in Lemon Grove and La Mesa, a redistricting proposal in El Cajon, and school bond measures in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College, Grossmont Union High School, and Cajon Valley  Union school districts.  Here are details:

A DIVERSE FIELD OF EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES: BALLOT STATEMENTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Ten candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three City Council seats in El Cajon. Councilmember Tony Ambrose has chosen not to run for re-election, which means the Council will see at least one new face after the November 8 election.   

The candidates reflect the growing diversity in El Cajon, including Latino, African-American, and Middle Eastern candidates.  Though the race is nonpartisan, the list includes several prominent Democratic and Republican community leaders , five with party endorsements,  as well as lesser known challengers-- all vying to pick up an open seat or unseat one of two incumbents on the Council.

FILING DEADLINE EXTENDED TO WEDNESDAY IN THESE RACES WHERE INCUMBENTS ARE NOT SEEKING REELECTION

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 16,2016  (San Diego’s East County)—The deadline for candidates to file, submit signatures and run for local offices has been extended to 5 p.m. tomorrow in  races where incumbents  did not file ot seek reelection. This includes key city council and mayor races in East County, as well as many school boards and special districts such as fire and water boards,as well as community planning boards.

EL CAJON REJECTS FINDINGS OF GRAND JURY REPORTS ON HOMELESSNESS AND POLICE OVERSIGHT

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos:  Councilman Tony Ambrose, left, leveled harsh words at Richard Graydon, right, a citizen seeking more help for homeless people.

August 11,2016 (El Cajon) – Tempers grew heated during Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council hearing, where  Council member Tony Ambrose scolded a citizen, Richard Graydon, who had criticized the City's approach to homelessness.  The agenda included the city’s responses to two critical Grand Jury reports, one on homeless issues and the other calling for formation of a citizens’ police oversight board. 

The City determined it already does enough to help homeless people--more than other East County cities-- and also concluded there is no need to allow citizens'oversight of any complaints against El Cajon Police.

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN HOSTS FREE CUSTOMER APPRECIATON DAY JULY 31 FOR HELIX WATER AND SWEETWATER AUTHORITY RATEPAYERS

East County News Service

July 27, 2016 (Rancho San Diego) – The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College will host a free Customer Appreciation Day for Helix Water and Sweetwater Authority customers on Sunday, July 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Discover different varieties of drought-tolerant plants, learn how to "Toss the Turf" and get inspiration on how to incorporate water-wise gardening into your own garden. Plus you can enjoy free activities including docent-led garden tours, tips on butterfly gardening, veggie growing,soils and native habitat, meet Ms. Smarty-Plants, watch a butterfly release, savor free shaved ice, and get discounts on gift shop items.  See full schedule of events below.

FATHER NOEL ORDERED TO LEAVE ST. PETER CHALDEAN DIOCESE ON JULY 15, 2016

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County News Service

July 10, 2016 (El Cajon)—In January 2015, Pope Francis issued a ruling to protect Father Noel Gorgis, a popular, zealous priest at St. Peter’s Chaldean Cathedral in El Cajon, as ECM reported. The Pope invalidated a decree issued by Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako, which would have required Father Noel and several other U.S. priests to return to Iraq, where the Islamic State has been slaughtering Christian religious leaders. The Pope’s action was applauded by local Chaldean leaders. Father Noel has been a leading voice locally and nationally, on behalf of Chaldean-Americans and Chaldean immigrants.

But now the new interim Bishop for the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic diocese of San Diego, Shlemun Warduni, has issued an order for Father Noel to leave St. Peter’s effective Friday, July 15, 2016, multiple church sources have confirmed.  Bishop Warduni is a temporary replacement for Bishop Sarhad Jammo, who recently retired and had been a defender of Father Noel, as ECM reported.

GIRL, 8, FIGHTS OFF INTRUDER IN EL CAJON HOME

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 10, 2016 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police are warning residents about an intruder who pried a screen off an open downstairs window at a condo in the1300 block of Hawk Lane at 4:00 this morning. He climbed into a bedroom where an 8-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother were sleeping. 

The girl's mother told Fox News that the suspect grabbed her daughter and was dragging her downstairs, when the girl struck him in the neck using moves she learned in a martial arts class.

The action caused the suspect to flee the home, said Lieutenant Rob Ransweiler. The suspect is described as a man with tanned skin, dark “fluffy” hair and a thin build.  He had a strong “dirty” odor and wore dark clothing and a backpack.

TRUCK CARRYING CRANE HITS OVERPASS ON 67

 

June 28, 2016 – 4:30 p.m. – A truck carrying a crane has reportedly struck the overpass bridge on State Route 67 southbound at Prospect Avenue in El Cajon and is stuck, according to the CHP incident page.  Lanes are blocked and a fuel spill has reportedly occurred.

A bridge supervisor is en route.  We recommend avoiding this area.  

EL CAJON MAKES PROGRESS ON BUDGET AND HOMELESSNESS, STALLS ON DISTRICT ELECTIONS, REJECTS LOCAL HIRING REQUIREMENTS

 

By Jonathan Goetz     

June 27, 2016 (El Cajon)—Last Tuesday, the City of El Cajon adopted a new annual budget, announced its participation in the East County Homeless Outreach Team and recertified its Property and Business Improvement District.

RESIDENTS HEAR UPDATES ON BORDER FIRE, THANK FIREFIGHTERS AND VOICE SOME CONCERNS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: County Fire Chief Gary Croucher

June 23, 2016 (El Cajon) --At a community meeting Thursday night at the Los Coches Creek Elementary School in El Cajon, fire officials gave a briefing on steps they took to battle the Border Fire, which since Sunday has burned close to 7,400 acres, destroying 5 homes and 11 outbuildings.  

Residents voiced gratitude toward firefighters for  valiant efforts to save homes and lives, also acknowledging much that has improved since the 2003 and 2007 firestorms thanks to better investments in firefighting equipment and technology.

But some voiced concerns over areas they hope to see improved-- notably helping children and young teens forced to evacuate when parents were away at work, slow communications early on about the fire’s progress, animals lacking food and water in the evacuation zone, and inadequate water at Lake Morena for firefighting aircraft due to the city of San Diego draining the reservoir too low.

SHERIFF’S WISHBONE THE BEAGLE AND HIS "SMELL AND TELL" BOOK READING JUNE 25 AT EL CAJON LIBRARY

 

 

Source: San Diego Sheriff

May 26, 2016 (El Cajon ) -- The Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) K-9 Team plays a valuable role in locating missing people across San Diego County.  When he's not busy assisting Sheriff's Deputies and SAR Volunteers, Wishbone the Beagle loves meeting children.

Join Wishbone and SAR K-9 Team Leader Pam Medhurst for a special reading of a short book on this talented dog on Saturday, June 25 at 2 p.m. in the Fletcher Hills Library (576 Garfield Ave., El Cajon).

In "Wishbone The Beagle: The Smell And Tell Game," we learn about Wishbone's special talents and how he became a member of the Sheriff's SAR K-9 Team. It's a story children of all ages will love.

UNSHELTERED HOMELESS COUNT JUMPS 19% COUNTYWIDE

 

 

“We All Count” organizers voice concerns over undercount of homeless due to lack of data provided by shelter in El Cajon

By Miriam Raftery

May 12, 2016 (San Diego) – Results of “We All Count,” the annual count of homeless people countywide, show a 19% increase in the number of unsheltered homeless people, though a slight dip (less than a percentage point) in the total number of homeless countywide.

In an interview with the East County Magazine Show originally aired on KNSJ radio, Dolores Diaz, Executive Director of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, and Michael McConnell, an advocate for the homeless who has served as team leader for “25 Cities”, a national initiative to end homelessness and publisher of Homelessness News San Diego, discussed this year’s results of the point-in-time homeless count, as well as long term solutions to end homelessness.

Hear our interview by clicking the orange arrow above (sound files may take a few moments to load), plus scroll down for additional details and updates obtained after our interview aired.

Audio: 

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK SILVER CAR THAT STRUCK GIRL, FLED SCENE

 

East County News Service

March 15, 2016 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police Department seeks public help to find a hit-and-run driver who struck and seriously injured a 12-year-old girl. The child was crossing the street on East Chase near Avocado with friends around 8:20 a.m. when she was hit. According to witness statements, she was crossing mid-block and was not in a crosswalk.

The suspect vehicle was caught on surveillance video. It appears to be a silver 2016 Honda Accord, two-door, or similar model. It was traveling east on Chase when the accident occurred. The driver did not stop, leaving the injured child in the street.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: GROSSMONT VOTES FOR TRUSTEE DISTRICTS, BYPASSING PUBLIC VOTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Controversial plan outrages Alpine voters, Chaldeans and other district residents

Photo: Priscilla Schreiber will be forced off the board in November if the county approves the GUHSD's redistricting proposal.

February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Grossmont Union High School District voted 4-1 to ditch district-wide elections and break up the district into five areas that will each elect its own trustee. (View map)  The board also voted to ask the San Diego County Committee on School Board Reorganization to waive a requirement that would ordinarily allow the public to vote on redistricting.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATED AT GROSSMONT AND CUYAMACA COLLEGES WITH SERIES OF EVENTS

 

February 10, 2016 (El Cajon) -- A celebration of black history that includes music, dance and theater performances at Cuyamaca College and an African-American Read-in at Grossmont College are among February’s Black History Month events.

Included among the events will be tributes to iconic figures like Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama, Maya Angelou and others, in addition to lesser-known names such as Daisy Bates, a civil rights heroine who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957.

GILLESPIE FIELD EXPANSION DELAYED DUE TO LACK OF FAA FUNDING

By Mike Allen

January 28, 2016 (El Cajon)--A plan to expand operations at Gillespie Field and develop a 70-acre site once occupied by the El Cajon Speedway was put in a holding pattern because of a lack of federal funding.

Earlier this month, board members from the Gillespie Field Development Council, a five-member board that oversees the county-owned airport, heard that expected federal grant funding to finance the estimated $30 million project wasn’t available.

FIRE DESTROYS TRAILER IN EL CAJON

 

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

January 26, 2016 (El Cajon) -- A fifth-wheeler trailer erupted into flames on Terrace Hill Road around 10:30 this morning, sending a plume of black smoke visible across much of the community on the boundary of El Cajon and Lakeside.  The fire briefly threatened a home before firefighters subdued the blaze.

Heartland's El Cajon Fire, Lakeside Fire, San Miguel Fire and Cal Fire responded to the incident.

MAN’S DECOMPOSED BODY FOUND IN STORM CHANNEL IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

January 5, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- The naked, partially decomposed body of a man was swept downstream in a storm drainage channel from El Cajon to Santee. 

“His death was definitely not related to today’s rains,” Lee Swanson, public information officer at San Diego Fire and Rescue told East County Magazine.  Swanson said it was evident that the man had died days or more before to the current storm. His identity is unknown.

HOSTAGE SITUATION ENDS SAFELY AFTER SUSPECT FIRED SHOT AT POLICE IN EL CAJON

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

December 25, 2015 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police negotiators have successfully ended a stand-off with a man who was holding a woman hostage and fired at police through the door.  10 News reports that after a breakup with his girlfriend, he brought flowers and a gun, pleading with his ex-girlfriend's mother to allow him to see his son. 

 

After negotiations lasting nearly three hours, the suspect surrendered to police. No one was injured during the incident.

EL CAJON POLICE TO HOLD DUI AND DRIVER’S LICENSE CHECKPOINT DEC. 28

 

East County News Service

December 24, 2015 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon Police Department Traffic Unit will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint on December 28th in the 300 block of W. Chase between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. 

COUNTY HOMELESS OUTREACH TEAM LAUNCHED IN EAST COUNTY

 

County News Service

December 16, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--The family of three—a couple approximately in their 40s, and their 17-year-old son and pet dog—slept in sleeping bags and blankets behind a Santee gas station last week. They were dressed in layers and were huddled or lying down on the concrete ground close to the building with their belongings in a few small carts. The family has been homeless since last December. Because the father works there five days a week, the gas station owner allows them to sleep on the property on occasion.

EL CAJON COUNCIL HEARS BUZZ OVER BEEKEEPING PROPOSAL, SDG&E ELECTRIC VEHICLE GRID PLAN, AND ABATEMENT OF SUBSTANDARD HOUSING

 

 

By Janis Russell

Photo: ECPD Chief Jeff Davis is sworn in.

December 13, 2015 (El Cajon)-El Cajon’s City Council had a busy agenda last Tuesday, including the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC), SDG&E’s  plan for vehicle grid integration, a beekeeping buzz, and issues faced by residents ranging from a home overrun by rabbits to a residence where residents were displaced due to flooding and a collapsed roof.  The City also swore in a new Police Chief and appointed a new Interim Mayor.

MAYOR WELLS STATE OF CITY ADDRESSS CITES ACCOMPLISHMENTS, CHALLENGES IN EL CAJON

 

By Janis Russell

December 12, 2015 (El Cajon)- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells delivered his State of the City address last Tuesday, listing El Cajon’s accomplishments and improvements, as well as the outlook for the city’s future.

Mayor Wells began by noting that El Cajon was a farming community a hundred years ago. “Now it’s the largest city in East County…There are over 100,000 residents,” he observed. “We also have new friends who have gathered thousands of miles away,” he added, referring to the city’s large immigrant and refugee population. “There’s a multitude of stories that bind El Cajon.”

Pages