Suspect in Alabama mall shooting arrested near Atlanta
HOOVER, Ala. — Authorities arrested a suspect in a Thanksgiving shooting at an Alabama mall a week after police killed a man they mistakenly believed to be the gunman, officials said Thursday.
Erron Martez Dequan Brown, 20, of Bessemer was charged with attempted murder in the Nov. 22 shooting at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, according to a statement from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
Inspector Frank Lempka with the U.S. Marshals in Atlanta said Brown was arrested Thursday morning at a relative’s home in South Fulton, just outside of Atlanta.
Brown was taken to the Fulton County jail for a hearing to be sent back to Alabama, Lempka said.
Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. was killed by an officer responding to the report of a mall shooting. Police said Bradford had a gun, and they initially blamed him for opening fire. They later retracted that allegation.
Brown was charged in the shooting of Brian Xavier Wilson, 18, of Birmingham, who was wounded. He wasn’t charged with shooting a 12-year-old girl who also was injured.
Court records show Brown was arrested in June 2017 in Huntsville on a charge of using a gun to rob a man, but the case was dismissed three months later after prosecutors filed notice that they didn’t want to pursue the case.
The arrest followed days of protests over Bradford’s killing in Hoover, where leaders of an asked the state Thursday for permission to release more information about the killing.
With the city’s lone black City Council member, Derrick Murphy, acting as a spokesman, officials made the request during an appearance at City Hall that ended with two prayers. The city will look at releasing information on its own if no response comes by noon Monday, Murphy said.
Demonstrators and relatives of Bradford have pushed authorities to release video and other evidence since an officer responding to a report of the shooting, which happened at Alabama’s largest shopping mall.
Murphy, who joined other leaders in meeting with Bradford’s relatives earlier this week, said the city wanted to help answer questions raised by the family.
“They have our love, they have our prayers,” he said.
The city made the request about evidence to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency because state investigators are handling the shooting probe. A statement from the agency about Brown’s arrest said it was “highly likely” that releasing evidence would hamper the continuing probe, but it didn’t directly address the city’s request.
The statement from the Alabama police agency did not say whether there was any relationship between Bradford and Brown, and an attorney representing the Bradford family did not return a message about whether the two men knew each other.
A minister who described himself as the Bradford family’s pastor, Mike McClure Jr., said releasing video of the shooting would help calm growing tensions that have included days of protests and racist social media posts.
“When there is no information it only leads to imagination,” said McClure, one of two pastors who closed the councilman’s statement with prayer.
McClure said Bradford attended his church, and McClure will officiate at funeral services on Saturday which will include a eulogy by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Bradford was shot to death on a mall concourse decorated for Christmas. An officer, who has yet to be publicly identified, shot and killed Bradford upon seeing the young man with a gun moments after shots were fired, police said.
Bradford’s family has said he had a permit to carry a weapon legally, and their attorney has said witnesses reported that Bradford was trying to help after the shooting.
Brumback contributed to this report from Atlanta.