Police in Hoover, Alabama are promising a transparent investigation to the public following a weekend of protests that broke out in response to the fatal shooting of a black man who pulled out his legally permitted weapon after gunshots were heard at a local shopping mall.
Hoover police initially described the officer who responded to a shooting at Riverchase Galleria Mall as "heroic" for shooting Emantic "EJ" Bradford, after two people were wounded in a shooting at the Riverchase Galleria Mall located outside Birmingham on Thanksgiving night.
They retracted that statement on Saturday, saying that it was 'unlikely' that Bradford had been the shooter. As it turned out, Bradford was a 21-year-old Army veteran who had a permit to carry a weapon, it was revealed by Bradford's father on Saturday.
A statement released by police on Monday, suggested that Bradford should not have pulled out his weapon during the shooting.
"We can say with certainty Mr. Bradford brandished a gun during the seconds following the gunshots, which instantly heightened the sense of threat to approaching police officers responding to the chaotic scene," the statement from the city of Hoover and its police department says.
"We extend sympathy to the family of Emantic J. Bradford of Hueytown, who was shot and killed during Hoover Police efforts to secure the scene in the seconds following the original altercation and shooting. The loss of human life is a tragedy under any circumstances," the statement said.
Hoover police also extended their sympathies to the two other victims of Thursday night's shooting, an 18-year-old male and 12-year-old female, who survived and were taken to a local hospital for treatment.
During an appearance on CNN Monday morning, Bradford's parents said police still hadn't spoken with them and reiterated their request to see body-camera video from the incident. They've hired civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump to help them gain access to the footage.
"We don't trust the police department because they've already lied to them. They released his picture all over the world saying he was the shooter and the police officer was a hero," Crump said ".It doesn't matter if you're a good guy with a gun, if you're black the police shoot and kill you and ask questions later."
According to the statement issued by Hoover police on Monday, footage from the officer's body camera were immediately turned over to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. "Now, all evidence has been handed over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to lead the investigation. Release of any video will be done as ALEA deems appropriate during the investigation."
The gunman responsible for the shooting on Thanksgiving is still at large, police say.
You can read the full statement from Hoover police below: