Demonstrators on Saturday marched through an Alabama mall where police killed a black man who later acknowledged it was not the trigger for a night of Thanksgiving shooting that injured two people. (November 24)
An Alabama town and its police department publicly expressed condolences on Monday to the family of a black man shot dead by an officer in the chaotic moments following a previous shootout at a crowded mall on Thanksgiving night.
But a statement issued by officials in Hoover, 10 miles south of Birmingham, also placed some of the responsibility on Emantic "EJ" Bradford Jr., who was killed by a private security officer at the two-story Riverchase Galleria.
The statement said Bradford, 21, was shot during Hoover police efforts to secure the scene after the initial shootout, which injured an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl. A search for at least one gunman continued on Monday, police said.
"We can say with certainty that Bradford branded a gun during the seconds after the shots, which instantly increased the sense of threat to the cops approaching the chaotic scene," the statement said.
Police later clarified that "bruised" meant Bradford was holding a gun.
"We are deeply and sincerely sympathetic to the bereaved family of Bradford and to all those affected by this incident," the statement said. "We all want answers and believe that with patience and focus the truth will be firmly established."
More: Alabama Mall Shot: Police Officer Killed the Wrong Man, Authorities Say
In the hours after the shooting, Hoover police had praised the "heroic" officer for knocking down a suspect. Several hours later, the police retracted the story, saying that Bradford was not the initial shooter.
Bradford's father, Emantic Bradford Sr., said on Monday police have not yet approached the family to apologize or explain what happened. He said his son was disrespected by police, who initially suggested he was the shooter – and by local police officers who allowed viewers to take pictures and videotapes after the shooting.
Bradford's family hired civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump to seek justice for his son.
Crump said that Bradford was calming down the fight and had permission for his gun. Crump said the officer "saw a black man with a gun and determined that he (Bradford) was a criminal."
Crump and his family asked police to release the camera body and another video of the shooting, saying the video would tell the "full story."
Hoover police said they handed the video and other evidence to the Jefferson County sheriff's department, which they handed over to the Alabama Legal Repression Service that leads the investigation. ALEA did not announce when or if the videos would be released.
The city and the police department promised transparency throughout the investigation and said they would provide weekly updates. Authorities have "certain information" about the initial shooter and urge the public to provide ALEA with any information that could speed up arrest, the statement said.
The statement also sent condolences to the family of the two initial victims, both hospitalized in stable condition after the shooting.
"These are just some of the many lives that were immediately affected by such an unnecessary event in what should have been a peaceful night on Thanksgiving," the statement said on Monday.
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