HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Police responding to a fight inside an Alabama shopping mall shot and killed a man who had brandished a weapon, authorities said Friday. Two other people were injured, including a 12-year-old girl.
The Hoover Police Department said in a statement that two men were engaged in a “physical altercation” at the glitzy Riverchase Galleria in Hoover late Thursday, when one of the men pulled out a handgun and shot the other man twice.
Two officers who were providing security at the mall heard the gunfire and approached the area. They spotted a suspect waving a pistol and shot him. He died at the scene. The Jefferson County coroner’s office identified him as 21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr. of Hueytown.
The other shooting victim was an 18-year-old male from Birmingham. He was taken to a nearby hospital in serious condition. A 12-year-old bystander was also shot and taken to Children’s Hospital by a Hoover Fire Department rescue squad.
Police said the fight happened on the mall’s second floor concourse area, near the entrance to the Footaction shoe store. Capt. Greg Rector said Friday that investigators do not know what sparked the original confrontation between the men.
A witness, Lexi Joiner, told Al.com she was shopping with her mother when the gunfire started. Joiner said she heard six or seven shots and was ordered, along with some other shoppers, into a supply closet for cover.
“It was terrifying,” Joiner said.
A woman who described herself as the mother of the injured 12-year-old posted on social media that the girl was on a Black Friday shopping trip with other family members when the shooting happened, and didn’t immediately realize that the pain in her back was from a bullet.
“She was hurting a lot, but very brave and positive as always,” the mother wrote after seeing the girl when she arrived at a hospital.
Hoover police said Friday morning that the girl was in stable condition.
The officer who shot the gunman was placed on administrative leave while the authorities investigate the shooting. The officer’s name was not released. The officers were not hurt.
Video posted on social media by shoppers showed a chaotic scene as shoppers fled the mall, which closed for the remainder of Thursday night.
The mall, located in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover, reopened at 6 a.m. Friday, a Riverchase Galleria mall security officer said. It bills itself as the largest enclosed shopping center in Alabama, with more than 150 stores.
Hoover police had asked the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the shooting, but the sheriff’s office turned it over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency because a witness is closely related to a member of the sheriff’s office.