The Alabama Attorney General’s report on the EJ Bradford shooting at the Galleria mall has been released. Read the report here. The report includes surveillance footage the AG determined to show that the officer’s assumption EJ was a threat was reasonable. It is hard to know from just a few screen captures if that was in fact a reasonable perception. While someone having a gun out is cause for alarm, it is not in and of itself justification for shooting someone. I, for one, would like to see the surveillance camera footage.
Interestingly, in his written statement the officer never articulated anything more than Bradford was armed. He did not say Bradford was an active threat and I am not sure how someone properly holds a handgun in a manner that would not allow shooting. From the photographs, Bradford appears to have the gun in his right hand down at his side, below his waist, and is not pointing it at anyone. The officer issued no commands to Bradford before opening fire.
Next, I observed an armed suspect quickly moving towards the two males standing near the railing. The suspect was advancing on the two males and had a black handgun in his right hand. I fired my duty weapon at the armed suspect to stop him.
Officer 1 believed that E.J. Bradford was going to murder Brian Wilson and AC. In Officer 1’s estimation, E.J. Bradford was only 10 feet away from Wilson andAC as he was running toward them with a firearm.
Officer 1 believed that E.J. Bradford was holding his gun in a manner that allowed Bradford to shoot Wilson or AC or turn and shoot Officers 1 or 2.
According to the report, the shooting officer gave a very short statement on the date and then was afforded a week before submitting a written statement or to questioning.
As expected, the witness statements are unreliable. Eyewitness 1 and 2 said commands were ignored by Bradford but the officer said no command was given.
The lesson for concealed carriers is that you may be mistaken as a threat so it is extremely important to make your actions as unambiguous as possible. Having a gun out in a chaotic scene is a recipe for mistakes.
A side note, immaterial to the issue of the shooting, is that Bradford was carrying an unloaded gun.
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 hisweapon and chambers a round. Bradford then charges back toward JC Penney, gun drawn.