Police have confirmed that the twenty-year-old man they shot down on Thursday, now identified as Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. of Hueytown, Alabama, was in fact not the gunman in the Alabama mall shooting — apparently, another man is involved in the incident.
The shooting happened around 9:52 p.m. local time after the twenty-one-year-old man, who was first identified as a teenager, got into a heated disagreement with an eighteen-year-old boy near the Footaction store at Riverchase Galleria mall.
The twenty-one-year-old man fled the scene when he encountered two uniformed police officers, one of whom shot him dead.
Hoover Police Captain Gregg Rector proclaimed on Thursday that:
“The unidentified person was fleeing the scene when one of the police officers encountered him and shot and killed him.”
He has then stated on Friday that Bradford Jr. may have been involved in “some aspect of the altercation” with the 18-year-old, but he “likely did not fire the rounds that injured” the victim.
Regardless of this new revelation, Bradford Jr. was still confirmed to be carrying a handgun when he was fleeing the crime scene and encountered the police officers.
“We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not,”
police officials said in a statement.
Police are now pursuing the possibility that a different individual discharged the bullets that injured the eighteen-year-old-boy involved in the altercation, and the twelve-year-old girl who was injured as well in the crossfire.
The two teenagers were hospitalized for bullet wounds, with the eighteen-year-old suffering a worse condition than the other — two gunshot wounds in the torso. The twelve-year-old girl was taken by the Hoover Fire Department to a nearby children’s hospital and was confirmed to be in a stable condition.
The unidentified gunman is still at large.
The investigation has been handed over by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency due to a potential conflict of interest.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s chief deputy, Randy Christian, stated:
“We have determined that one of the witnesses is closely related to a Sheriffs Office sworn Personnel. In order to remove any perceived biases, at the request of the District Attorney we have turned the investigation over to ALEA.”
The officer who was involved in the shooting of the Bradford Jr. has been placed on administrative leave, pending the result of the investigation. A separate, internal investigation into the officer-involved portion of the case continued, Hoover police officials said.
The mall was closed after the shooting but reopened to Black Friday shoppers Friday morning.