Hoover police shoot wrong suspect in Thanksgiving shooting

Update: Erron Martez Dequan Brown, 20, was arrested by U.S. Marshals and ALEA Nov. 29 around 9:30 a.m. in South Fulton, GA. for the shooting of Brian Wilson at Riverchase Galleria. Brown is charged with attempted murder and his bond is set at $125,000.

A shooting at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Birmingham on Thanksgiving left a 21-year-old dead and an 18-year-old male and 12-year-old female injured.

The then suspect, Emantic Bradford Jr., of Hueytown, was shot and killed by Hoover police shortly after the shots were fired inside the mall. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is believed the gunman and the 18-year-old were in an argument over a pair of Black Friday tennis shoes. The incident happened between JCPenney and Foot Locker.

Police announced Nov. 23 Bradford was not the shooter like they initially thought.

“We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not,’’ said Hoover police Captain Gregg Rector. “We remain committed to maintaining the integrity of this investigation, helping determine the facts involved and assisting (the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency) in their efforts.”

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato Brocato praised the police presence at the mall during the shooting and how quickly they contained the situation.

“(Police) haven’t told me anything yet,” said Bradford’s father, Emantic Bradford, Sr, in an interview with CNN. “Nobody has responded. We haven’t gotten any calls, no apology, nothing has been told to us.”

Bradford’s mother, April Pipkins, confirmed the Hoover police has not reached out to the family since it was discovered they shot the wrong man.

“I know that was the day they took my son from me,” said Pipkins. “My Thanksgiving will never be the same. I’ll never be able to see my son’s face again.”

Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Bradford family, said it is ironic the Hoover police are asking for Bradford’s family to give them the benefit of the doubt and the benefit of consideration.

“They didn’t give E.J. Bradford the benefit of the doubt and consideration when this off-duty police officer, who was doing private security for the Galleria mall pulled the trigger, we believe, unjustifiably,” Crump said.

He said several witnesses have reached out to him and the family saying it only took milliseconds.

“He offered no verbal commands, he didn’t say ‘freeze, police’ or anything,” Crump said. “He just saw a young black man with a gun and he shot.”

Crump said Bradford was a good guy with a gun.

“The notion of a ‘good guy with a gun’ trying to stop the bad guys with guns during these mass shootings, where if you happen to be black, the police see you as a criminal and they shoot and kill you,” Crump said.

Bradford’s family is requesting to see the videos and body camera footage of the situation.

“All videos, including body cams, so they can know the truth for themselves,” Crump said on Nov. 25 at Kelly Ingram park. “They demand transparency and accountability for the person responsible for killing their son.”

During the rally at Kelly Ingram park, Bradford’s grandmother collapsed from grief as Crump revealed Bradford was shot in the face.

“They shot my son in the head and let him bleed out,” Bradford, Sr. said. “This hurts me to my core, and I can’t get him back.”

The 18-year-old, who has not been identified, was shot and taken to UAB Hospital’s Trauma Center. The 12-year-old was shot and taken to Children’s of Alabama.

Julie Bennett, the mother of 12-year-old Molly, posted on Facebook Nov. 23 saying her daughter had a fractured rib, but her spine is just fine.

“I am once again overwhelmed at the kindness of others,” Bennett said. “I have received so many sweet comments and messages. Friends, as well as strangers, are offering to help in so many ways that I never would have expected.”

Bennett’s daughter was an innocent bystander when the event broke out.

“We had an unfortunate situation in probably the safest places in America,” said Brocato. “One of the safest places in America is the Riverchase mall.”

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