A Hoover, AL, police officer was justified in fatally shooting Emantic Fitzgerald “EJ” Bradford Jr. Thanksgiving night inside the Riverchase Galleria, state officials announced Tuesday.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall shared a report following a more than two-month investigation into 21-year-old Bradford’s death. AL.com reports.
The report also detailed the investigation into the gunfire inside the mall that injured 18-year-old Brian Wilson and 12-year-old bystander Molly Davis moments before Hoover police killed Bradford. Erron Brown, 20, is charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Wilson.
“After an extensive investigation and review, the Attorney General has determined Officer 1 did not commit a crime under Alabama law when he shot and killed E.J. Bradford and thus the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct preclude presentation of this case to a grand jury,” Marshall’s report states.
“The facts of this case demonstrate that Officer 1 reasonably exercised his official powers, duties, or functions when he shot” Bradford, the report continues.
Bradford’s family spoke after meeting with representatives from the AG’s Office and learning the Hoover police officer who shot Bradford will not be charged. Bradford’s father, Emantic Bradford Sr., said the shooting was a murder and called for justice.
“The video tells the whole story,” the Bradford’s family attorney, Benjamin Crump, said. “He was running away, like everybody else.” Crump said Bradford ran almost 50 feet, before realizing his friend wasn’t with him. “He took his gun out and went back, trying to protect his friend,” Crump said.
“Officer 1” and his partner were working on-duty in the Galleria when they heard gunfire from 75 feet away. The two officers encountered Bradford within three seconds. Bradford, the report states, “held a firearm in a ready position.” The two officers charged forward.
“Several persons were in Bradford’s path. Immediately before him, Brian Wilson lay on the ground, bleeding from his gunshot wounds and a 18-year-old (name redacted in report; only identified as “AC”) stood over Wilson,” the report continues. “Beyond them, Erron Brown (the initial shooter) and his companions were running for JC Penney, while several innocent bystanders were scrambling for cover.”
It was then that Officer 1 identified Bradford “as an immediate threat to innocent civilians and thus shot Bradford to eliminate the threat,” the report adds.