Killing of Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.

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Shooting of Emantic Bradford
DateNovember 22, 2018 (2018-11-22)
Time9:52 p.m. (CST)
LocationRiverchase Galleria, Hoover, Alabama
Coordinates33°22′50″N 86°48′36″W / 33.3805351°N 86.8098851°W / 33.3805351; -86.8098851
TypeHomicide by shooting, police killing
CauseGunshot wounds to the head, neck, and back
Filmed byPolice body camera, mall surveillance, private videos[1]
ParticipantsDavid Alexander (shooter)
DeathsEmantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., aged 21
  • Hoover Police Department (initial)
  • Jefferson County Sheriff's Department
  • Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
  • Gregory Davis; Results of the initial autopsy have not been revealed.
  • Roger Mitchell; Independent autopsy found Bradford was hit three times from behind, with a fatal shot to the head.

On November 22, 2018, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., an African-American man, was shot three times from behind and killed by Hoover police officer David Alexander on the night of Thanksgiving, at the Riverchase Galleria shopping mall in Hoover, Alabama.[2] Police responded to a shooting at the mall where two people were shot.[3] Another African-American man suspected in the first shooting was arrested in Georgia a week later and charged in the shooting of one of those injured. Bradford was holding a legally owned weapon when shot and was not involved in the prior shooting incident, although near the crime scene.[4][5] The shooting of Bradford was immediately controversial, and was condemned by the Alabama National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as an example of racially biased policing.[6]


Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., of Hueytown, Alabama, was 21 years old. He was born on June 18, 1997.[1] He attended Holy Family Cristo Rey High School in Birmingham and earned his diploma through the General Educational Development (GED) program.[7] Bradford had enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2017 and completed basic training, and was on leave in August 2018 before completing advanced individual training.[8] Bradford worked full-time and was a caretaker for his father, a former correctional officer, with cancer.[9]


On November 22, 2018, at approximately 9:52 PM local time, an altercation involving four people occurred near the Footaction and JCPenney stores on the second level of the mall.[10][11] One of the men – initially claimed to be Bradford and currently believed to be Erron Brown, who was later arrested by U.S. Marshals[12] – reportedly drew a weapon and shot 18-year-old Brian Wilson twice, before fleeing the area. Stray gunfire also hit a 12-year-old female bystander.[13] Within five seconds after Wilson was shot, two officers from the Hoover Police Department approached Bradford, who was armed. One of the officers immediately fired from behind at Bradford, who was running with gun in hand, and killed him.[2][14]

It subsequently transpired that Bradford's movements in the critical seconds were more complicated than originally thought.[15]

E.J. Bradford initially runs in the opposite direction (away from JC Penney),

creating a gap between himself and the gunshots. As he creates this gap, Bradford draws his

weapon and chambers a round. Bradford then charges back toward JC Penney, gun drawn.

— Report of Alabama Attorney General.[15]

Brian Wilson and the injured 12-year-old were taken to different hospitals; Wilson in serious condition with two gunshots to the torso and the 12-year-old in stable condition with a lodged bullet near her spine.[16] The mall was closed for the night.[16] The 12-year-old was found to have had a rib fractured in the initial shooting, but her spine was undamaged.[17] A 70-year-old woman had been injured by a fall while attempting to flee. She sustained multiple pelvic fractures, as well as internal bleeding and bleeding of the brain, and she was airlifted to Mobile.[18]


The Hoover Police Department turned all video and other collected evidence to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, which subsequently turned the investigation over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. All three agencies initially refused to release videos of the event.[19]

During the investigation into the shooting, an additional gun was found in the "Santa's Village" portion of the Galleria. Doubt grew that Bradford was the initial shooter. In a press conference, Captain Rector of the Hoover Police Department stated that the initial shooter would need to be determined by the investigation into that shooting. Captain Rector also stated that they believe the initial altercation may have more people involved than originally suspected, and clarified that a separate investigation by the Hoover Police Department would occur for the police shooting.[16] Late in the evening, the Hoover Police Department issued a correction saying that Bradford was not the shooter.[20][21] They said the shooter was not in custody. Furthermore, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency took over as lead investigator of the shootings.[22]

A suspect in the initial shooting, Erron Martez Dequan Brown, was arrested by U.S. Marshals at a relative's home in Fairburn, Georgia, on November 29. He was charged with the attempted murder of Wilson.[12][23]

On February 5, 2019, the Office of the Attorney General of Alabama released a report of its review of the evidence regarding the police shooting. They determined that David Alexander; "Officer 1", as he was referred to in the report, "identified E.J. Bradford as an immediate deadly threat to innocent civilians and thus shot Bradford to eliminate the threat," and therefore, that he, "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."[24][25] The report was strongly criticised by Bradford's family.[23]


The mall reopened the day after the shooting at 6 AM, and the two officers who were involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.[14] When it was reported that the 21-year-old deceased victim was not the perpetrator, the family of the victim raised demands that the Hoover, Alabama Mayor and Police Chief step down.[26]

Protests were organized by a Birmingham activist group called Justice League on the following Saturday. Protesters also called for a boycott of the Galleria.[27][28][29][30]

On November 26, 2018, a protest gathered outside Hoover City Hall, calling for the Hoover Police Department to release video from the police body cameras and mall surveillance cameras for public review. The protestors then shut down U.S. Highway 31, carrying signs reading "Black Lives Matter", "Justice for EJ", and "Justice starts with the truth", as they marched to the Riverchase Galleria, the site of the shooting.[31] Additional protests throughout the city of Hoover were organized in the following weeks in multiple shopping areas, public interstates, and private residences of Hoover City Officials, some resulting in the arrest of participants.[32]

Family of Bradford[edit]

The family of Bradford hired civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.[33] Additionally, the Alabama chapter of the NAACP issued a press release condemning the "extreme and excessive police force."[6] At a press conference in Birmingham, Benjamin Crump claimed that witnesses to both shootings described the responding officers as not revealing that they were undercover officers nor that they gave any orders to people nearby before shooting Bradford. He also stated that Bradford was trying to clear the area when the officers reached the scene of the initial shooting and that they prevented Bradford from receiving aid for a gunshot wound to the face. It was claimed that the gun on Bradford was not in his hands, but attached to his pants.[34]

According to various members of Bradford's family, no one from the Hoover Police Department informed them of his death. In addition, they were not provided with any details of the police shooting until the November 28 meeting.[35] One of Bradford's relatives called for the resignation of both Chief Derzis and Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato for their actions shortly after Bradford's death.[36]

A meeting between the family of Bradford and Mayor Brocato, Chief Derzis, and Councilman Derrick Murphy occurred on November 28. The city leaders apologized to the Bradford family for the shooting and answered what questions they could regarding the events.[35]

A vigil for Bradford was held on November 29 at the Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham.[37] A funeral for Bradford was set for December 1 at the Boutwell Memorial Auditorium with Reverend Jesse Jackson to speak.[38]

A "preliminary anatomical review" was planned on November 29 for the following day to determine the number of shots that hit Bradford and whether Bradford was hit from the front or from behind.[39] At a press conference on December 3, Crump was joined by attorneys Rodney Barganier and Frankie Lee in revealing the results of the independent autopsy. The review concluded that Bradford was shot three times from behind while he was running. The locations of the shots were to the right side of the head, the base of the neck, and the right portion of the hip. The bullets all entered from an upward angle and the shot to the head was the fatal shot, entering from the back right of the head and exiting above the left eye.[1]

Hoover city[edit]

The Hoover City Council gave the ALEA until noon on December 3 to make a decision regarding the release of information pertaining to Bradford's shooting. Had the deadline passed without comment, Chief Derzis would have decided for the council if the information would have been released without the ALEA.[40] Derzis revealed on the 3rd that the ALEA had asked city leaders to not reveal critical information while the investigation was in progress.[11]

On December 6 it was revealed that the ALEA had had a meeting with Bradford's family, attorneys for the family, and district attorneys Danny Carr and Lyniece Washington. Part of the meeting allowed those present to view a portion of the footage of Bradford being shot. The meeting was allowed provided that specific evidence not be publicly shared or detailed.[41] A Justice for E.J. Community Forum was held with members from the Nation of Islam and Black Lives Matter, among others, at the Muhammad Mosque in Birmingham.[42]

The city additionally postponed a Christmas tree lighting ceremony that was to take place on November 29 due to threats that the lighting would be protested.[43] A fourth protest occurred at the AMC Patton Creek movie theater on December 2.[11]

Federal lawsuit[edit]

In 2020, Bradford's family filed a federal lawsuit against the officer who shot him (as a John Doe), the city of Hoover, the Galleria, and Brookfield Property Partners, the owners of the Galleria. In November 2020, the officer who shot Bradford was identified as David Alexander.[44][45]


  1. ^ a b c Hrynkiw, Ivana (December 3, 2018). "E.J. Bradford shot in the back, attorneys say: What we learned from the private autopsy".
  2. ^ a b Shah, Khushbu (December 3, 2018). "EJ Bradford was shot three times from behind by officer, autopsy reveals". the Guardian. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "Police kill gunman during Black Friday sales at Alabama mall; 2 hurt". NBC News. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Capelouto, J. D. "Suspect in Alabama mall shooting arrested at relative's house in metro Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "Mall shooting suspects agrees on return to Alabama". Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Alabama NAACP Strongly Condemns Hoover Police Shooting - Alabama State Conference of the NAACP" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 11, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  7. ^ Reeves, Jay (November 27, 2018). "If Emantic 'E.J.' Bradford had been white, 'the whole scenario would have played out differently,' mom says". USA Today. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Amir, Vera (November 27, 2018). "The Alabama man killed at a mall had a legal gun permit and was trying to help people, his family says". CNN. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  9. ^ McLaughlin, Elliott C. (November 27, 2018). "As family demands to know why police killed man at Alabama mall, Hoover PD clarifies report he 'brandished' gun". CNN. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  10. ^ Joe Sutton; Madeline Holcombe. "Gunman dead and 2 wounded -- including 12-year-old girl -- in Alabama mall shooting". CNN. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Robinson, Carol (December 3, 2018). "Hoover will not release mall shooting video, details due to request from state investigators".
  12. ^ a b Robinson, Carol (November 29, 2018). "Suspect in Alabama mall shooting captured by U.S. Marshals in Georgia". The Birmingham News. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
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  14. ^ a b "Riverchase Galleria reopens after mall shooting leaves 2 injured, suspect dead". 6WBRC. November 23, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
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  16. ^ a b c ANDERSON, JON (November 23, 2018). "Armed man killed by Hoover police at Riverchase Galleria was military man". Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  17. ^ "12-year-old shot at Riverchase Galleria 'hurting but brave,' mother says". November 23, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  18. ^ "Woman, 70, airlifted to Mobile with internal, brain bleeding from fall after Alabama mall shooting". November 25, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  19. ^ Bacon, John (November 26, 2018). "Emantic Bradford's gun 'heightened sense of threat' at Alabama mall before he was shot". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  20. ^ Zaveri, Mihir (November 24, 2018). "Black Man Killed by Officer in Alabama Mall Shooting Was Not the Gunman, Police Now Say". The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  21. ^ "Riverchase Galleria Officer-involved Shooting Update - Hoover Police Dept on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  22. ^ Madeline Holcombe; Faith Karimi (November 24, 2018). "Alabama mall gunman still at large after police say armed man killed by officer 'likely did not fire' shots". Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Alabama officer in mall shooting that killed 21-year-old, sparking protests, won't face charges". NBC News. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  24. ^ Attorney General's Report Regarding the Officer-Involved Shooting Death of Emantic ('E.J.') Bradford, Jr. At the Riverchase Galleria on November 22, 2018 (PDF), Office of the Attorney General, State of Alabama, February 5, 2019, retrieved February 5, 2019
  25. ^ Alabama AG: Hoover police officer justified in fatally shooting Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.[permanent dead link] CBS10 WBNS-TV
  26. ^ Martin, Michael (November 25, 2018). "Alabama Police Now Say Black Man Killed By Officer Wasn't The Gunman In Mall Shooting". Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  27. ^ "The Alabama Thanksgiving Mall Shooting Suspect Is Still At Large". November 23, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  28. ^ "'They killed him for no reason,' says aunt of 21-year-old shot dead at mall". ABC News. November 25, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  29. ^ "Protesters call for boycott after Alabama mall shooting, demand release of body cam footage". November 24, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  30. ^ "Alabama mall shooting: Officer killed the wrong man, officials say". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  31. ^ "Demonstrators shut down highway in protest of fatal police shooting". ABC News. November 27, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  32. ^ Beahm, Anna (November 26, 2018). "Riverchase Galleria shooting: Protesters shut down highway, march to mall". Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  33. ^ "Family of man killed by police in Alabama mall shooting hires civil rights attorney". November 24, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  34. ^ "Police 'saw young black man with a gun' and shot him, father says after Galleria police killing". November 25, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  35. ^ a b "Hoover officials apologize to E.J. Bradford's family for saying he was shooter". November 28, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  36. ^ "Parents of man killed at Alabama mall 'outraged' by police treatment". ABC News. November 25, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  37. ^ "Dozens gather to mourn E.J. Bradford's death, promote peace". November 30, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
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  39. ^ Highsmith, Jordan (November 30, 2018). "Bradford family, Attorney Ben Crump hires pathologist to perform autopsy". Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  40. ^ ANDERSON, JON (November 29, 2018). "Hoover asks state for permission to release information about police shooting at Galleria". Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  41. ^ Simmons, Emma (December 6, 2018). "Mall shooting video 'consistent with' forensic exam, Bradford family lawyer says".
  42. ^ Anderson, Jon (December 6, 2018). "Groups join forces to bolster police shooting protest, call for 'war' against Hoover". Hoover Sun.
  43. ^ ANDERSON, JON (November 28, 2018). "Hoover postpones Christmas tree lighting after threats of protest due to police shooting". Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  44. ^ Garrison, Greg (November 25, 2020). "Lawsuit IDs Hoover officer who shot EJ Bradford". Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  45. ^ Taylor, Drew; Malique, Rankin (November 26, 2020). "Officer who shot EJ Bradford named in federal lawsuit". CBS 42. Retrieved January 17, 2022.

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