January 20, 1993
May 20, 2019
Age at Death:
Enosa “EJ” Strickland Junior was born on January 20, 1993, in Riverside, California, and moved to Auburn in 1999. His parents Enosa and Kathleen had three other children, Kanela Uncangco, Paese Bautista, and Keawe Strickland. As a child, he spent most of his time with his cousins and friends. He played football in high school but found music to be his true passion. After graduating, he attended EWU but returned to Auburn to find work. He worked many different jobs but continued to pursue music in his spare time. He is remembered as a good man who was genuine and caring.
On May 20, 2019, Enosa Strickland was waiting for a ride from his parents when he was beaten and shot in the back of the head by an Auburn police officer. Two officers were responding to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex. When they arrived the officers determined that they would not arrest Mr. Strickland, but he needed to get a ride home. According to the police account, while waiting for his mother, Strickland got into a fight with the two officers, and at one point found a knife that the officer had dropped. When police ordered him to drop the weapon, police say, he didn’t, and one of the officers fired the fatal shot.
Was justice served?
As of February 2021, justice has not been served. The case did not go to trial, when a prosecutor reviewed the shooting he determined there was insufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed. Both officers were placed on administrative leave for a few months but returned to the force shortly after. The prosecutor in charge said of the officer “he had a good faith basis for using deadly force”. Another man was murdered by the Auburn police department only eleven days after Strickland. These two deaths sparked major protests and calls for the cases to be reopened, as well as firing the officers responsible.