Several hundred people gathered for a vigil at the Allen Street Gates in State College Thursday evening for the man who was fatally shot by police Wednesday.
“We are gathered here tonight to honor the life of a 29-year-old African-American male, Osaze Osagie,” said Danieltta Pantoe, a Penn State junior and president of the Student Black Caucus, as she led the vigil to remember Osagie.
Osagie was fatally shot by State College police Wednesday. Police went to his apartment for a mental health check, and he reportedly confronted them with a knife.
“The police officers had no need to use violence with him," Pantoe said. "And they should be trained enough, and they have been trained enough to deescalate situations, so this should not have happened."
Penn State faculty member Kathryn Belle spoke for Osagie’s father, Sylvester Osagie. She said he wanted to offer gratitude and appreciation for the support.
“He wanted everyone to know he loved and loves his son very dearly, and he said right now he and the family are just needing some space and time to process and grieve," Belle said. "He says please ask people to keep us in their prayers as they go through this difficult time.”
Despite the rain, the gathering spilled off the sidewalk into College Avenue. Among those there was Will Slaton, commander of the Heritage Affairs section in the Pennsylvania State Police Equality and Inclusion Office.
He said the incident just occurred, and there are a lot of questions that can’t be answered yet. He said there would be a thorough investigation.
“But I think the community thinks — white officer, black victim, there’s bias. But I would encourage them not to rush to judgment with that, and just let the investigation take its course,” Slaton said.
State College police turned the investigation over to state police. Slaton said he would provide community leaders with status reports.