A man fatally shot by police at a Hoover, Alabama, mall on Thursday night was not the gunman who wounded two people following an altercation, officials said Friday evening, contrary to initial police statements. The actual shooter is thought to be still at large.
Police in the Birmingham suburb originally claimed Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, was the shooter responsible for injuring another man and a young girl in the Black Friday shopping shooting. But in a later statement, they said their "initial media release was not totally accurate" and Bradford is now, at most, thought to have been "involved in some aspect of the altercation."
Bradford, who was black and a member of the military, was fatally shot by an officer near the scene of the gunfire. He was reportedly carrying a handgun which he did not fire. (Alabama does not require a permit for open handgun carry.)
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Bradford "was a super sweet, funny, kind, and goodhearted young man who never had a bad word to say to anyone," said his former teacher, Carl Dean, of Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School in Birmingham. "When I saw this morning that he was allegedly involved in causing the 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."
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