Man Shot By Cops Wasn't Mall Shooter, He Was A Soldier Who Didn't Shoot Victim

Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. was fatally shot by police who were responding to a shooter.

Hoover, AL – Hoover Police Department has announced that the man fatally shot by officers in the Riverchase Galleria mall was not the same man who shot an 18-year-old male victim.

21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. was fatally shot by police after fleeing the area of the shooting while "brandishing a handgun," according to the department.

"Over the past 20 hours, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigators and crime scene technicians have interviewed numerous individuals and examined several critical evidentiary items," the department said. "New evidence now suggests that while Mr. Bradford may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation, he likely did not fire the rounds that injured the 18-year-old victim."

The chaotic incident began just before 10 p.m., when an unidentified armed man began fighting with an 18-year-old male on the second level of the Riverchase Galleria mall, near JCPenney and Footaction, CNN reported.

It was unclear what led up to the physical altercation, which ended abruptly when the gunman shot the younger man twice in the torso.

A 12-year-old girl standing nearby was also hit by one of the bullets.

“We do not believe at this point the 18-year-old was armed,” Hoover Police Captain Gregg Rector told CNN at the time.

The department “already had multiple officers working at the mall for traffic control and police presence inside,” Capt. Rector told FOX News.

Bradford was fleeing the scene with a handgun when he was confronted by two uniformed Hoover police officers, The Birmingham News reported.

“One of our officers did engage that individual and shot him,” Hoover Police Chief Nick Dezris said. “He was dead on the scene.”

Both shooting victims were rushed to a local hospital, CNN reported.

The 12-year-old girl underwent surgery, and was listed in stable condition as of Friday morning.

“[She] does not have life-threatening injuries,” Capt. Rector said.

The 18-year-old man was listed in serious condition, according to police.

After the investigation started, it was determined that Bradford hadn't shot the male victim.

"This information indicates that there is at least one gunman still at-large, who could be responsible for the shooting of the 18-year-old male and 12-year-old female," the department said. "We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not."

The mall was open late for customers who wanted to get an early start on their Black Friday shopping.

Terrified customers screamed and ran for cover as the gunfire broke out, and store employees rushed to get everyone to safety.

“People started screaming and going crazy just to get a way from it, and then cops ran by us with their guns drawn,” witness Debby Woods told WPEC.

Other shoppers drew their own concealed weapons, The Birmingham News reported.

“I just felt a rumbling,” Ryan Spann told WBMA. “Before we knew it, just an entire wave of people – I mean full sprint – I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Everyone was just yelling to run,” Spann said. “It was just pure pandemonium.”

“They stuffed us in supply closets and locked the doors,” shopper Lexie Joyner said of the store employees, according to CNN. “They seemed prepared.”

After about 10 minutes, store employees helped Joyner and several others to escape the building through an emergency exit.

Out in the parking lot, tires squealed as people sped away from the gunfire, a witness told The Birmingham News.

Hoover police quickly secured a perimeter and methodically evacuated shoppers from the building.

“We have a plan and our plan works,” Chief Dezris told The Birmingham News.

The officer who shot Bradford has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the officer-involved shooting investigation, which is being handled by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Bradford was identified as the son of a Birmingham police officer, and a combat engineer in the U.S. Army, according to Daily Mail. UPDATE: Bradford had received a general discharge while still in training for undisclosed reasons and was no longer in the Army.

Comments (51)
No. 1-19
LEO0301
LEO0301

Why in the world would you run from a shooting with a gun in your hand and not expect a terrible ending?

Kenforbus
Kenforbus

Whether you are a good guy with a gun or not, when the police show up, you better follow instructions.

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

I feel that this is a tragedy, but that the police are the authority. Why else do they have the badges, the vehicles, and the weapons, if not to be the law enforcers - the peace keepers - the thin blue line between the law breakers and the law abiding public.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

I wonder whether stricter federal gun control laws could have prevented this tragedy. Maybe the police officer assumed the man was the shooter because he was black. If so, I would like to see some prison time for her or him.

SAAM
SAAM

I wonder whether stricter federal birth control laws could have prevented Burgers Allday.

Louise S
Louise S

Black mob violence is shutting malls down across the country

Watchman89
Watchman89

I'll wait for the investigation to conclude then I'll say something

Traveler1059
Traveler1059

This individual was not a soldier and certainly not an Engineer. He did not complete Basic Training according to Army Spokesman. I believe this is another Trevaughn Martin situation where they try to make out the alleged victim to be something they aren’t to drive an agenda. Show a picture of a twelve year old to make him a sympathetic character when he isn’t.

Bluesupporter21
Bluesupporter21

So were the initial reports of Bradford carrying a gun accurate or not?

Lbw654
Lbw654

Why are they labeling him a Soldier? He was discharged their for he’s no longer a soldier, it’s sad this young man died . But running from an active shooter situation brandishing a hand gun ??

Propolice
Propolice

Running from the scene brandishing a handgun!!! Got what he deserved. Lesson learned

RPG156
RPG156

The fog of war exists for police officers in an active shooter situation. People are running, screaming, crying. Most are hiding. People were shot. The area is hot and the police are looking for someone with a gun. They see someone with a gun. We don't know what happened in that instant.

Generally, when officers are on scene, it is NEVER a good idea to be the person they see with a gun, whether a patriot, sheepdog citizen or off-duty police officer. There are dozens of incidents that tragically ended this way.

DarrellB
DarrellB

It is BY FAR easier to demonize Police Officers than it is to fix what is broken in certain segments of society. He is NO soldier. He is a screw up. The image shining through with this "Army" guy acting the Thug at boot camp, with his cover on backwards flashing GANG signs! I am quite sure he was ordered to drop the weapon, and failed to comply. In the meantime, another killer, another criminal with a gun, another black on black assaulter is still at large. That is the real agenda out there. Distract from another black on black tragedy. All my best to the Officers investigating this case.

Branoli
Branoli

Was he maybe going after the shooter and that is why he had his gun drawn? Just a thought.

DrJeffreyP
DrJeffreyP

Whether he shut anyone or not, The deceased was likely involved in the altercation and reports are that he had a Birmingham warrant for ... wait for it ... brandishing a weapon. And he had a gun Thursday night.

Jkeyes
Jkeyes

Only Blue Lives Matter.

61mouse
61mouse

Per his family he went to boot camp then dropped out .....SO NO HE WAS NOT A SOLDIER

Jackwebb182
Jackwebb182

I just noticed he was making gang signs with his hands.

Logic Required
Logic Required

Lots of misinformation going around about this. Hes not the son of a police officer, his father was a corrections officer for a long time about 25 years I believe. He is not in the army, he went to basic but got a general discharge before AIT for unknown reasons. I will reserve judgement until more info is out, in this day and age with mass shootings, ie parkland where cops were blamed for not acting. I would invite people to put themselves in their shoes, running towards gunfire, people being shot, unknown who is friend or foe. I believe it was wrong of the department to be so eager to release info and ID a shooter, they should have conducted more investigation first but again, in recent times where people demand instant info and transparancy otherwise they riot, I dont blame them for trying to get out what they thought was correct quickly. Just my 2 cents.