Emantic Bradford, Jr, Killed By Police In Black Friday Shooting, Was Reportedly Victim Of Mistaken Identity

crime scene investigation tape
LukaTDB / Shutterstock

Police were called to the Riverchase Galleria in Birmingham, Alabama, on Thanksgiving to respond to reports of an active shooter about 9:30 p.m. Twenty-one-year-old Emantic Bradford, Jr. was shot and killed by an officer who responded to the call. Now police are saying that Bradford was not the shooter and that the actual shooter is still on the loose. The gun believed to have been used in the crime was found inside the mall’s Santa’s Village.

Bradford was a graduate of Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School in Birmingham and was the son of a Birmingham police officer, according to Daily Mail. He served as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army. The Hoover Police Department says that they believe he was among several individuals who were involved in the argument that led to the shooting death of an 18-year-old and the injury of a 12-year-old and one other person, but that surveillance video from a mall shop revealed that he was not the gunman.

It’s unknown exactly whether he was trying to break up the fight or if he was a participant. Investigators report that Bradford was in possession of a handgun and fleeing the scene when he was killed. The officer responsible for his death has been placed on administrative leave. The two injured individuals are receiving medical care in a hospital and are expected to survive their wounds.

Bradford was known as E.J. to those close to him. Carl Dean was one of his teachers in high school and described him as someone liked by all who knew him.

“He was a super sweet, funny, kind, and goodhearted young man who never had a bad word to say to anyone. When I saw this morning that he was allegedly involved in causing a tragedy at the mall last night, I was shocked and in disbelief as well as heartbroken that this young man is no longer with us.”

Police say the fight that led to Bradford’s death escalated quickly and resulted in one male pulling a gun and shooting another male in the torso two times. They described what happened next.

“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 at the scene.”