ALABAMA — One week after Alabama police said they killed a mall shooting suspect — then said he probably wasn’t the shooter — authorities say they’ve arrested the real assailant.
Erron Brown, 20, was arrested Thursday at a relative’s home in South Fulton, Georgia, US Marshals supervisor Frank Lempka said.
Brown faces one count of attempted murder for the Thanksgiving night shooting at Riverchase Galleria Mall, an upscale shopping center in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover.
Moments after the shooting, a Hoover police officer working security at the mall shot and killed a different man — Emantic Bradford Jr. And over the past week, Hoover police kept changing their story about why he was shot.
First, Hoover police said a 21-year-old suspect — later identified as Bradford — shot and wounded an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old innocent bystander.
Then police said Bradford probably didn’t pull the trigger, but he did brandish a gun.
Then they said Bradford had a gun in his hand, but didn’t say that he was threatening anyone with it. (The Bradford family’s attorney said the young man had a legal permit to carry a weapon.)
All this has led to growing accusations of racial profiling and demands for answers. But the case has been turned over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), which said Wednesday that it will “not release information concerning pending criminal investigations.”
On Thursday, Hoover city officials held a news conference asking ALEA to release “limited information” on the case to the public. Council member Derrick Murphy noted that protesters had been demonstrating this week outside the mayor’s home.
City officials did not say what “limited information” they wanted the state to publicize. But Murphy said the city is asking the state to release that information by noon Monday.
“We have also discussed a follow-up plan in the event that we don’t receive the information by Monday at noon,” Murphy said. In that case, Murphy said, Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis will decide “whether or not to release limited information on his own.”
When asked why city officials wouldn’t take questions at Thursday’s news conference, City Administrator Allan Rice says they wanted to wait until Bradford’s funeral Saturday before releasing any information related to the investigation.
Rice says he doesn’t know what type of limited information might be released Monday.
The Hoover officer who was working as security at the mall when he killed Bradford is on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Meanwhile, the 18-year-old shooting victim, Brian Wilson, and the 12-year-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet are recovering from their injuries.
Wilson’s attorney, John C. Robbins, issued a statement offering condolences to the Bradford family — and calling for more dialogue about police shooting deaths of black men.
“The Wilson family hopes that this tragic event will lead to real, open and honest dialogue not only between the African-American community and the police, but also the entire community must be involved in this discussion,” Robbins wrote.
“Reckless police shootings of young black men must stop. But they will not end until there is rational and productive communication between the entire community and the police force, whose duty it is to protect that community.”