Alabama police have shifted blame to the Black man mistakenly killed by an officer responding to reports of gunfire at a shopping mall.
Emantic “EJ” Bradford, 21, was killed by a Hoover, Ala., police officer who was responding to an active shooter situation on Thanksgiving night.
The incident began with a fight inside the Riverchase Galleria, during which an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old bystander were shot. Bradford attempted to flee the ensuing chaos with hundreds of others, but was shot by the uniformed officer while carrying a licensed handgun.
The Hoover police department initially called the officer “heroic,” but retracted the statement upon realizing they had killed the wrong person and said it was “unlikely” Bradford fired the rounds.
But in another statement issued Monday, the department said Bradford’s decision to “brandish” a gun — a gun his father says he had a permit for — contributed to his own death.
The department issued another statement Monday: “We can 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.”
The gunman in Thursday’s altercation is still at large.