Hoover, AL Cops Kill ‘Good Guy With Gun,’ Let Mall Shooter Escape

It took nearly a full day for Hoover police to admit they had killed the wrong man.

Following an altercation at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Alabama on Thanksgiving night, someone shot an 18-year old victim multiple times and wounded a 12-year old bystander. Rushing to the scene, a police officer “engaged, shot, and killed” Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., who was named as the gunman.

“We were fortunate that that Hoover officer was there where he needed to be, and we believe at this point that maybe he prevented further injuries,” Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector told reporters.

Twenty hours later, however, Hoover PD changed their story, saying in a press release that Bradford “may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation” but that he “likely did not fire the rounds that injured the 18 year old victim.”

That is at least somewhat consistent with eyewitnesses who said that Bradford was not the shooter. “That boy didn’t shoot at nobody. He’s dead!” a bystander was heard exclaiming in a video of the grisly scene of the shooting shortly afterwards. “They just killed that black boy for no reason. . . . He probably got a gun license and everything.”

Bradford, an active duty soldier with the US Army, did in fact have a concealed carry permit. Do not hold your breath waiting for the National Rifle Association to express outrage, though, because Hoover police now say Bradford was killed for “brandishing” his perfectly-legal carry pistol in a “threatening” manner.

According to multiple reports, other shoppers also produced carry weapons and exhibited the same reactions, yet they were not killed by police.

The actual gunman is still at large and has not been identified. It also became clear on Friday morning that officers had failed to check the crime scene in sufficient detail. For as the mall reopened, staff discovered an abandoned pistol on the carpet of Santa’s village, lying in plain view.

The snafus kept piling up in a cascade. According to Bradford’s stepmother, police named him as their suspect before contacting his family, who have retained civil rights attorney Benjamin L. Crump.

Jurisdiction in the matter has been handed over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, reportedly because one of the eyewitnesses is related to someone in the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Such a move is not really surprising. As one of the “over the mountain” suburbs of Birmingham, mostly-white Hoover has a long, fraught racial history, including allegations of police bias.

A small protest was held at the mall on Saturday.

The Friday statement from Hoover police is embedded below.

Featured image via Facebook