HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Thanksgiving night, Hoover police were dispatched to a shooting at the Riverchase Galleria during pre-Black Friday shopping at Alabama’s largest indoor mall. An 18-year-old and 12-year-old were shot, and seriously injured when someone opened fire after an altercation outside of the Footaction on the second floor inside the mall.
Authorities said Thursday night that an on duty-uniformed police officer shot and killed the shooter. Friday afternoon, the Jefferson County Coroner identified the man who was shot and killed by the officer as 21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald “EJ” Bradford. Friday night, Hoover Police retracted their original statement identifying the deceased as the shooter and said the 21-year-old killed by Hoover Police was not believed to be the gunman, but they believed he was involved in some way in the initial altercation. The gunman remains at large.
The way the incident was handled—with police declaring the shooter had been killed—has sparked protests, with his family, activists and members of the community demanding the release of any and all video of the altercation, the initial shooting, and the officer-involved shooting that left Bradford lying dead in the mall.
Jefferson County District Attorney Michael Anderton says video does exist.
“I saw one video from a store front,” Anderton said. “Quite honestly not enough to make much out. Just what we had out Thursday night.”
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) is investigating, so it will be up to them if footage is released or not.
“During the course of the investigation, any release of any information at all could damage or potentially harm the investigation,” Anderton explained.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was initially investigating. Anderton determined there may be a conflict of interest–a witness had family ties to Sheriff-elect Mark Pettway.
“This is a situation where we want to find out what happened we’re not going to hide anything, we’re not going to bury anything, we’re not going to do any of that,” Anderton said. “That’s why when I saw the conflict, I wanted the sheriff’s office out of it. So we didn’t have anything where somebody could point fingers and say, ‘Aha, that’s the reason.’”
Rumors surround what happened, and why Bradford may have had his gun out. Bradford’s father, Bradford Sr., acknowledged at a press conference Sunday that his son owned and carried a gun, and said he had a concealed carry permit for the weapon.
“The Galleria is private property and the Galleria can post whether weapons are allowed or are not allowed, I don’t know what they have when it comes to these little stickers on the door or any kind of notice that weapons are not allowed on premises,” Anderton explained. “As far as I know, the concealed weapon permit would allow someone to carry.”