By Alexandra Parado
On Thanksgiving night on Nov. 22, 21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. was shot in the face by an off-duty police officer working security at Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover, Alabama, according to NBC News.
According to the initial report, Bradford was engaged in a fight with an 18-year-old when he pulled out a gun and shot the young person. A 12-year-old bystander was also wounded during the incident, NPR reported.
The officer’s name has not yet been released, but according to NPR, his actions were initially seen as “heroic” by his peers. They later retracted the statement, saying that it was unlikely that Bradford was responsible for firing the shots that injured those people.
Bradford, an Army veteran, held a permit to carry a weapon, his family reported to CNN. After hearing gunshots in the mall go off, Bradford pulled out his gun in attempt to help people get to safety. Without issuing a warning before opening fire, the police officer fatally shot Bradford.
Bradford received no medical attention from police after the shooting, according to NPR.
CNN reported that the real shooter is still at large. Hoover police and Mayor Frank Brocato expressed his sympathy for Bradford’s family. Though they offered sympathy, Hoover police has not issued an apology to his family for the incident.
According to NPR, the officer who shot Bradford has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Bradford’s family members were not immediately contacted by Hoover police about the death of their son. Instead, the family found out about his death through social media, according to NPR.
E.J. Bradford Sr., Bradford’s father and a retired correctional officer, called Hoover police at 12:30 a.m. the night of the shooting and was told they would call him back. Hoover police gave a media briefing before reaching out to the Bradford family. In an article published by CNN, Bradford Sr. demanded that investigators immediately release all video of the incident.
All evidence of body camera videos have been handed over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to lead the investigation according to NBC News. ALEA will decide when to release the evidence.
Bradford’s family has hired an attorney, Ben Crump, to represent them. Crump has also represented other black men who have been killed by police or others, including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, according to NPR.
On Nov. 27, five days after the shooting, his family eventually received a phone call from Hoover police, Crump explained to The Guardian. They also received their son’s body in preparation for his funeral, according to The Guardian.