New evidence in the Thanksgiving day Alabama mall shooting suggests police might have shot and killed the wrong person, leaving the actual shooter still at large.
The incident at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover began Thursday when a physical altercation at the mall just before the beginning of Black Friday shopping between a 21-year-old and an 18-year-old escalated.
According to The Washington Post, police secured the mall and killed the alleged gunman, 21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., supposedly bringing the incident to a close that also left an 18-year-old man and a 12-year old girl injured.
Despite the seemingly tight end to the case, police revealed in a statement Friday night that the Bradford was not the actual shooter who opened fire at the shopping mall after all.
"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 statement read, also announcing that the state would be taking over the investigation.
Authorities first said the fight between Bradford and the teenager led to the gunfire, which led to the young girl being shot in the back. However, more evidence suggests that the fight involved more than the two individuals. Police did not specify what role, if any, Bradford had in the incident, but they maintained their position that he threatened an officer with a handgun while he ran.
"We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not," police added in the statement, released on Twitter. "This information indicates that here is at least one gunman still at-large."
As previously reported the officer involved in the shooting was placed on administrative leave while the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office performs an internal investigation.
The unidentified 18-year-old who was shot is reportedly in serious condition at a hospital. The 12-year-old girl, who was apparently struck by a stray bullet, is expected to recover fully.
Bradford is one of more than 850 people who have been shot and killed by police in the United States in 2018, The Washington Post writes. His death also sparked outrage on social media from users accusing U.S. law enforcement of systemic racism that leads to the death of many black men at the hands of police officers.0comments
"While moving toward the shooting scene, one of the officers encountered a suspect brandishing a pistol and shot him," police wrote in their first public statement, immediately after the shooting. In their revised statement the following evening, they said Bradford was shot and killed while "fleeing the shooting scene while brandishing a handgun."
Bradford's family hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of black shooting victims Stephon Clark and Trayvon Matin, after the events of the weekend likely to pursue legal action against the police department.