- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 24, 2018

Police in Hoover, Alabama, said that an officer fatally shot an armed man at a shopping mall on Thanksgiving evening over an altercation that involved a different suspect. Two others were seriously wounded. 

Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, was killed as a result of the officer-involved shooting, the Hoover Police Department said in press release issued Friday evening.

Hours earlier, authorities said that a Hoover police officer fatally shot a man suspected of being involved in an altercation that resulted two victims, ages 18 and 12, being hospitalized in serious and stable condition, respectively.

“During the fight, one of the males produced a handgun and shot the other male twice in the torso,” Hoover police spokesman Capt. Gregg Rector said in a press release Friday morning. “Two uniformed Hoover police officers providing security at the mall were in close proximity and heard the gunshots. While moving toward the shooting scene, one of the officers encountered a suspect brandishing a pistol and shot him. That individual, a 21-year-old male from Hueytown, was pronounced dead on the scene.”

Police subsequently issued another statement Friday evening that identified Bradford as the deceased and clarified his role in the events.

“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 spokesman said in the second statement. “We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate.”

“Investigators now believe that more than two individuals were involved in the initial altercation. 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,” a bystander, the spokesman said Friday evening.

Police did not immediately disclose details about the suspect at large.

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, ABC News reported.

“Our family is completely shocked, heartbroken and devastated at the tragic death of our beloved ‘EJ,’” Bradford’s family said in a statement issued Saturday, ABC News reported. “As we continue to grieve, rest assured, that we are working diligently with our legal team to determine exactly what happened and why this police officer killed our son. We will never forget EJ, and ask for your continued prayers during this incredibly difficult time.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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