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Scholarship Planned, Website Established In Memory Of Osaze Osagie

Family and friends of the State College man who was shot and killed by borough police last week have created a memorial website in his honor and are planning to establish a scholarship in his name at Penn State.

Osaze Osagie, 29, died of multiple gunshot wounds after being shot by an officer during a confrontation at Osagie’s apartment on Old Boalsburg Road, where police had arrived to serve him with a mental health warrant.

According to the website RememberingOsaze.com, a funeral service for Osagie will be held Saturday in State College. His family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the planned scholarship fund. Details on donations can be found here.

His family wrote on the website that he “was often referred to as ‘gentle’ by those who knew him.”

Born Aug. 2, 1989 in Ithaca, N.Y., Osagie attended Corl Street Elementary School, Park Forest Middle School and CLC Charter School before graduating from State College Area High School in 2007, according to his obituary

He attended Penn State for two years. During that time, according to the tribute website, he was diagnosed with autism and withdrew “when mental health challenges became too difficult to manage.”

“For the next ten years, Osaze wrestled with complications arising from these challenges. However he was able to use his many skills to work and volunteer with various organizations in the community. His life was cut short when he was killed by police on March 20, 2019, in State College, Pennsylvania.”

According to a search warrant affidavit filed by Pennsylvania State Police, which is leading the investigation, Osagie’s father contacted borough police because he had become concerned about his son’s recent erratic behavior. He also allegedly showed police text messages in which Osagie threatened to harm himself and others.

When police arrived at his apartment at 1:15 p.m. on March 20, Osagie allegedly confronted officers with a knife and ignored commands to drop it. When Osagie “came after” police, an officer shot and killed him, according to the search warrant.

WPSU reported Tuesday that State College Police Chief John Gardner said officers had encountered Osagie before but had not previously had a violent interaction. Osagie’s death was the first known fatal shooting by State College police in the department’s 103-year history.

The search warrant indicated that state police seized several 9 mm casings, bullet fragments, a taser and a knife from Osagie’s apartment kitchen after the shooting. Will Slaton, commander of the Heritage Affairs section in the state police Equality and Inclusion Office, said borough police did use a taser first but that it wasn’t effective, according to WPSU

A lifelong fan of the New York Knicks and New York Giants and an avid fan of Penn State football, “Osaze was a quiet young man, soft-spoken, and personable. He loved to read his bible and loved to go to church,” his family wrote. “He attended State College Assembly of God and State College Access Church and enjoyed being around his church family. He loved music. He loved to pray. He was considerate and kindhearted. He cared deeply for others. Osaze loved his family dearly.

“He will be missed.”

On a section for tributes on the website, those who knew Osagie often described him with words such as “gentle,” and “kind.”

“Osaze Osagie was one of the kindest and unselfish people I have ever known,” his brother wrote. “Despite his struggles, he always managed to pull through and put a smile on people’s faces. He did not deserve to die in the way that he did. Compromised mental health while being Black should not be a crime, and he will receive his justice.”

“Despite his challenges, my brother was a bright light to both our family and church community,” his sister wrote. “He always made sure to spread his positive outlook and bright smile with everyone he knew. We will miss him dearly.”

Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna, whose office will determine whether charges should be filed, vowed a “thorough and complete investigation,” and said he would “report back fully” on its conclusions.

“The matter will be investigated no different than any other death case that’s occurred in Centre County,” Cantorna said. “It will not be until that process is complete that we can reach conclusions on what occurred, the use of force and the appropriateness of that use of force.”

The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

Osagie is survived by his mother and father, sister and two brothers.

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About the Author

Geoff Rushton (StateCollege.com)

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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