A man who was shot and killed at an Alabama mall Thanksgiving night following a reported gunfight was likely not the man that police intended to target—and his family is demanding answers via body camera and any other video footage available. Race is also believed to be a factor in the death of the black victim, according to reports.
In an exclusive interview with CBS News, the family of 21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., reportedly expressed shock, and yearn to get down to the truth of the matter for a beloved family member they lost whom and want “justice” for, and said “always respected the police.”
As previously reported by CrimeOnline, three people, including Emantic, a 21-year-old man, and a 12-year-old girl, were shot Thursday night, as shoppers geared up ahead of Black Friday at Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover. The shooting reportedly happened following an altercation between two men.
As Emantic Jr., who served for the U.S. Army at the time of his death, apparently tried to escape the shooting while holding a gun, and is believed to have been shot to death by a police officer who worked as security guard for the mall. Officials have since come forward to say they don’t believe he was the suspect who they initially thought had opened fire on the other victims. Those victims were transported to separate hospitals for treatment of their injuries, with the man listed in serious condition and the girl “alert and talking” as of Friday.
In a statement released Monday, local authorities said they are able “say with certainty Mr. Bradford brandished a gun during the seconds following the gunshots, which instantly heightened the sense of threat to approaching police officers responding to the chaotic scene,” as reported by NPR. The media outlet added that “body camera and other available video was turned over to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department” pending the probe into the incident.
The @NRA’s ‘good guy with a gun’ mantra doesn’t apply to Black men.
Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., #EJBradford, an active duty Army officer & son of a police officer was home for Thanksgiving when he was mistaken for a mall shooter & murdered by Hoover, AL police.#WhyWeKneel pic.twitter.com/rMnRYDYFZN
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) November 25, 2018
“We extend sympathy to the family of Emantic J. Bradford of Hueytown, who was shot and killed during Hoover Police efforts to secure the scene in the seconds following the original altercation and shooting. The loss of human life is a tragedy under any circumstances,” the statement went on to say.
The man’s father expressed belief that police acted too soon, and didn’t take the proper precautions to ensure they were shooting the intended suspect—who officials said may still be at large.
“My son always respected the police and if you would have given a command when you came around that corner, say freeze, drop your weapon, he would have complied with your order,” Emantic Bradford Sr.,the slain man’s father, a police officer, stated to the news station.
Further, the mother of Emantic Jr. said she believes her son intended to help the situation, but instead paid the ultimate price—with his life.
“…Emantic would be the one trying to get people out of harm’s way. That’s the type of person he was,” Bradford Jr.’s mother, April Pipkins, said. “You shoot first and ask questions later? It’s backwards.”
The family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, told CBS news that he believes race played a role in the deadly shooting.
“The pattern in America is if there’s a good guy with a gun and he happens to be black, police don’t see him as a good guy,” Crump said.
The victim’s mother said she wants proof of how police handled the dire situation.
“I want to see the evidence. I want to see the video footage,” Pipkins said “…I want the truth. I want justice for my son,” she added.
This is a developing story. Check back with CrimeOnline for the latest updates.
Breaking: At least three people injured after a shooting at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama. The suspected gunman is dead. pic.twitter.com/xbvzOD8WCg
— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) November 23, 2018