‘My Son Was Murdered’: Father Speaks Out After Autopsy Reveals Police Shot EJ Bradford in the Back

Screenshot/ABC News

The family of Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. is demanding answers after an independent autopsy showed the 21-year-old was shot three times from behind by a police officer.

Police shot and killed Bradford while responding to a report of a shot at an Alabama mall Thanksgiving night. Initially, law enforcement reported that they shot the suspect. Later, they retracted and said Bradford was probably not involved in the shooting.

“As you see from the evidence, my son was not posing a threat,” Emantic Bradford Sr., a law enforcement officer himself, said at a press conference Monday. “If you walked up from behind my son, you should have gave him command, verbal command to drop the weapon. You shot him from the back, as you all can see. Three times my son was shot.”

Bradford did have a handgun at the mall, but he also had a legal conceal-carry permit. Hoover Police Department said in a statement that police saw Bradford as a threat.

“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.”

But Bradford Sr. said his son, an Army veteran, would’ve complied with officers.

“That was wrong,” Bradford Sr. continued. “My son was murdered by this officer and that was cowardice. You shot a 21-year-old person running away from gunfire. Never posed you a threat, never had nothing in his hand. Why did you shoot him? You can’t explain that to me, cause that ain’t training. That’s cowardice. You’re a coward.”

Watch the video below:

Bradford’s death sparked further debate on police violence, especially violence against black men. Critics say Bradford, Army veteran, legal gun owner, and son of a police officer embodied the “good guy with a gun” ideal, and was killed anyway.

Police took into custody a new suspect for the original mall shooting, where an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl were wounded, on Thursday.

What do you think?

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EJ was running away from a shooting with a pistol in his hand. I can see someone jumping to conclusions


Race implications aside – if “good guy with a gun” is the solution and more people begin to carry, there will likely need to be some education from the police on how to engage while avoid being considered a threat to the police.

Madison Dibble

There’s no way to justify his death. Absolutely heartbreaking story.

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