The story of the Thanksgiving mall shooting that happened in Alabama has had more plot twists than a well developed soap opera.
Originally we reported that three people, including the shooter were dead. That story has since been clarified and amended. An argument between two men lead to one of them pulling out a gun and shooting the other and a 12-year-old girl. Both of those victims were hospitalized but are still alive.
A mall security guard came upon the aftermath and shot a young man, whom he presumed to be the shooter, but was in fact an innocent shopper.
That innocent young man has been identified as 21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. of Hueytown.
According to The Washington Post "Police, who claimed earlier that Bradford had threatened responding officers with a pistol, said other people appeared to be involved in the shooting. They say at least one of those people apparently escaped while Bradford died on the concourse outside a shoe store, surrounded by officers."
"They were so quick to rush to judgement," Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Sr., the deceased's father told reporters.
“We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not,” the police said, adding that the conclusion was based on interviews with witnesses and “critical evidentiary items.”
In their initial statement on Friday, the police said uniformed officers who were providing security at the mall “encountered a suspect brandishing a pistol and shot him.” It was not clear whether the officers believed Mr. Bradford fired or intended to fire before he was killed."
Mr. Bradford’s mother, April Pipkins, said in an interview on Saturday that Mr. Bradford was living with her near Birmingham where he had been raised. Mr. Bradford, who was better known as E.J., would not have been involved in the shooting, and might have been trying to protect other people in the mall, she said.
“That was not his character at all,” she said. “He loved life, and he loved people.”
He was licensed to carry a firearm, she said. Alabama generally does not prohibit people from carrying firearms in public, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
This story is still developing and unfolding and, as it does, we'll keep everyone updated. Surely the police are at fault but we have yet to see everyone who kills an innocent man be charged with their murder.