State College

‘Osaze was a man of peace.’ Family of police shooting victim establishes scholarship

Mental health warrant led to officer-involved shooting, police say

State College police Chief John Gardner informs the public about the officer-involved shooting that occurred on March 20, 2019 at Marvin Gardens Apartments.
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State College police Chief John Gardner informs the public about the officer-involved shooting that occurred on March 20, 2019 at Marvin Gardens Apartments.

Penn State announced Thursday a scholarship fund in the memory of Osaze Osagie, the State College man fatally shot in March by borough police.

Established by his family, the Osaze Osagie Memorial Scholarship for Educational Equity at Penn State is meant to support students at the university with mental health challenges and other disabilities, Penn State said in a press release. The idea is to provide financial resources so students can have quality-of-life experiences, including academic, emotional and social support, according to the university.

Both of Osagie’s parents, Sylvester and Iyunolu Osagie, are longtime Penn State faculty members. Sylvester Osagie is the director of Water-Energy-Food Systems and an adviser for Penn State Global Programs. Iyunolu Osagie is an emeritus professor in the Department of English and African Studies at the university and an English professor at Oregon State University.

“While our grief does not compare to the sense of sadness the Osagie family is bearing right now, the entire community has been shaken by this tragic loss of a member of our Penn State family,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in the release. “We know that there is great sorrow and many questions in our community regarding Osaze’s untimely passing. We are grateful to the Osagie family for choosing to celebrate the life of their son and brother in a way that will have a lasting impact on Penn State and our future students.”

Osaze Osagie, a 29-year-old who was diagnosed with autism, was fatally shot March 20 when three State College police officers attempted to serve a mental health warrant at his apartment along Old Boalsburg Road.

Osagie brandished a knife, ignored several commands to drop it and “came after the (borough) officers,” according to a court filing from state police at Rockview.

The family hopes additional educational support programs will be available at the university to train law enforcement in how to handle those experiencing mental health crises, according to Penn State. Osagie was a former Penn State student.

“Osaze was a man of peace. Despite his health challenges, he deeply cared for others and wanted the best for them. His love was unconditional under all circumstances,” the Osagie family said in a statement. “Given the experiences of Osaze’s life and the circumstances surrounding his death, we are very much interested in a scholarship fund that symbolizes peace, reconciliation and the need to care for the vulnerable in our society.”

Tax-deductible contributions may be made at raise.psu.edu/OsazeOsagieMemorialScholarship, or they can be mailed to University Development, 2601 Gateway Drive, Suite 150, State College, PA 16801.

The ongoing investigation into Osagie’s death was turned over to state police. The involved borough officers were placed on administrative leave — in line with borough police policy — pending the outcome of the investigation, State College police Chief John Gardner has said. Their names have not been released.

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Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.


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