El Cajon Police Department officer Richard Gonsalves fatally shot Alfred Olango Tuesday afternoon, and this isn’t the first incident to sully Gonsalves’s 21-year record.
As UPTOWN previously reported, Olango’s sister called police three times for assistance with her brother because he was having a medical and a mental health emergency. Police were aware they were reporting to a 5150 call of someone in mental and possibly physical distress when they arrived 50 minutes later, without assistance from a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team.
Instead of assisting Olango, Gonsalves shot him. A second officer who hasn’t been identified used a Taser on Olango at the same time Gonsalves fired his weapon.
Police claim Olango was a threat and pointed an object at the officers. They revealed Wednesday that the item was a vape smoking device. Apparently, Gonsalves thought it was a gun.
Gonsalves has a disreputable history in the El Cajon Police Department.
In 2015, Officer Tina Greer sued Gonsalves, who was her supervisor at the time, for sexual harassment. He sent her sexual text messages, including a photo of his genitals. He referred to Greer and her wife in one text, “I’m drunk and I want u! Both of u!”
They settled the lawsuit earlier this year. However, Greer filed a second lawsuit this August because she was forced to work in a hostile environment she believes in retaliation for the first suit. She was also assigned to work with Gonsalves again.
The alleged retaliation has included comments made by male officers, spit on her locker, in addition to being forced to work with Gonsalves.
“He should have been fired,” said Greer’s attorney, Dan Gilleon. “I think he should have been prosecuted. There’s no employer out there in their right mind that wouldn’t fire someone that does that.”
Gonsalves was demoted from sergeant to officer, but Gilleon believes the department should have fired him.
The Root spoke to a friend of Olango’s, who described the distress he was under recently:
According to Alexandra Jackson, a long-time friend of Olango’s, he had also been in emotional distress.
“I’ve known [Olango] for about 10 years … he was a good kindhearted man who was dealing with the death of another friend that committed suicide days before this,” Jackson told The Root.
“He was acting very strange since the death of our friend—very paranoid and not himself,” Jackson continued. “Everyone who knew Alfred loved him because he was so helpful and kind. I can’t believe he’s gone.”
Police Chief Jeff Davis says the video of the shooting will not be released because it is part of the ongoing investigation.
Gonsalves and the second officer who fired his Taser have been placed on paid administrative leave.