Alabama Police Change Mall Shooting Story in Killing of Black Man

Emantic Bradford Jr.

Emantic Bradford Jr.

By Malcolm Speaks

Hoover, AL police report that a police officer shot and killed a 21-year-old Black man Thursday night. Police initially claimed that Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. shot at least one person at a mall near Birmingham, AL, but further investigation suggests otherwise.

Police now say Bradford, Jr. wasn’t the gunman and that the actual gunman is still at large.

The Hoover Police Department posted on Twitter that the man who was killed, “may have been involved in some aspect” of an altercation at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Ala., that preceded the shooting.

Reports also state that Bradford, Jr. “likely did not fire the rounds” that struck an 18-year-old man as they originally reported. Another victim was a 12-year-old girl who was an “innocent bystander,” according to police. Both victims were hospitalized and their conditions as of Saturday had not been released.

“We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not,” the police said. The conclusion was based on interviews with witnesses and “critical evidentiary items,” police added.

Initially, police reported that officers “encountered a suspect brandishing a pistol and shot him.” However, it is not clear whether the officers thought that Mr. Bradford either discharged or intended to discharge the firearm before they shot and killed him.

Mr. Bradford’s mother, April Pipkins, said in an interview on Saturday that Mr. Bradford was living with her near Birmingham where he was raised. She said that Mr. Bradford, who was better known as E.J., would not have been involved in the shooting, and might have been trying to protect other people in the mall.

“That was not his character at all,” she said. “He loved life, and he loved people.”

She also said that he was licensed to carry a firearm.

Anthony Thomas, Mr. Bradford’s uncle, said he wanted the police to release all the videos from the mall that day.

“He was an honorable young man who was assassinated,” Mr. Thomas said.

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