Hoover police are now saying the man they fatally shot following the shooting at Riverchase Galleria in Alabama on Thanksgiving night was NOT the gunman.
21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., an honorably discharged Army veteran who was home for the holidays, was running away from the chaos inside the mall holding a handgun when he was accosted by a uniformed officer and fatally shot.
And yes, he was licensed to carry.
Police initially took credit for taking down the gunman who shot an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl only to backtrack on Friday night and admit they killed the wrong man.
“We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not,’’ he said. “We remain committed to maintaining the integrity of this investigation, helping determine the facts involved, and assisting ALEA in their efforts.”
Emantic’s family has hired civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump to represent the family.
The family released the following statement through Crump:
Our family is completely shocked, heartbroken and devastated at the tragic death of our beloved ‘E.J.’ E.J. was a devoted son and brother who dedicated his life to serving his country and always doing the right thing.
As we continue to grieve, rest assured that we are working with our legal team to determine exactly what happened and why this police officer killed our son. We will never forget E.J. and ask for your continued prayers during this incredibly difficult time.
Shaun King took to social media on Saturday to bring attention to this horrific situation.
View this post on Instagram
My God. American police just killed another "good guy with a gun." Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., better known as EJ, whose dad worked for the police department, was awaiting deployment and was home for Thanksgiving. Murdered by police yesterday in a mall shooting in Alabama. Not only did police in Hoover, Alabama murder EJ, for 24 hours they plastered his face all over the news saying he was the mass shooter. They did a press conference saying they killed the shooter, showed his picture, then said the community was safe. THE SHOOTER IS AT LARGE. EJ's family and friends reached out to me this morning. They are not just devastated, they are furious. Police publicly and local media both publicly blamed him for the mall shooting. He never fired a single shot. EJ Bradford, Jr. was beloved all over Birmingham. This morning I have heard from neighbors, friends, even teachers from elementary to high school – who LOVED this man. Served safely in the Army, then shot & killed by American police in Alabama while home for Thanksgiving. #JusticeForEJ
The Hoover police are going to pull everything out of their hats to try to justify the shooting death of E.J.
They’ve already stated that they believe he was part of the altercation to vilify him.
U.S. Army Public Affairs officials are already on their B.S. claiming “Bradford did not serve in the Arm, as he never completed Advanced Individual Training.”
This is America.