'My son was murdered,' says father of man mistakenly shot by police in Alabama mall

An independent autopsy shows EJ Bradford was shot three times in the back.

The family of the 21-year-old man killed by a police officer in an Alabama mall says an independent autopsy shows he was shot three times in the back.

The father spoke after attorneys for the family shared results of an independent autopsy that showed Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. was hit in the head, neck and lower back by three bullets allegedly fired at him from behind.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Bradford family, said Dr. Roger Mitchell, a forensic pathologist, was hired by the family to conduct the autopsy and concluded that the "manner of death is homicide."

"We believe based on this forensic evidence that this officer should be charged with a crime," Crump said at the news conference. "There's nothing that justifies him shooting EJ as he's moving away from him."

The city of Hoover encouraged Crump and the Bradford family to submit the findings of the independent autopsy to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, so the information can be part of the official investigation.

"We want everyone who lives in, works in or visits Hoover to know that we are committed to the safety of our city, to healing from these tragic events and to the transparency of the ongoing investigation," the city said in a statement.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating the shooting but has released few details.

A 20-year-old man was apprehended last week in connection with mall shooting that left two people wounded and led to the officer-involved shooting of Bradford.

Police identified Erron Martez Dequan Brown as the gunman who allegedly shot 18-year-old Brian Xavier Wilson and a 12-year-old girl, setting off a chain reaction in which a police officer shot and killed Bradford.

Hoover police mistakenly believed Bradford, who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon and was armed the night he was shot, was the suspect who opened fire in the mall.

However, police later said Bradford did not fire his gun in that initial altercation with the teen and apologized to his family for releasing the erroneous information that he was the shooter.

In a joint statement released Monday, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato and Police Chief Nicklaus Derzis said details of the mall shooting will not be released while the incident is under investigation.

"Disclosure by the city of such information or evidence may jeopardize the integrity of ... " the investigation, Brocato and Derzis say in the statement.

Officials have yet to release the name of the officer who shot Bradford.

Crump -- who along with Bradford's family have met in private with Brocato, Derzis and other city officials -- said the officer was off-duty, but moonlighting at the mall as a security guard when the officer shot Bradford.

He said the Bradford family commissioned Mitchell, the chief medical examiner for Washington, D.C., to conduct an independent medical review of Bradford's body.

Mitchell found that one shot entered the back of Bradford's head and exited his skull above his left eye. A second bullet hit Bradford in the back of his lower neck and lodged in his throat, and the third shot entered his back near his left hip and lodged in his abdomen.

"If that was anybody else who shot somebody three times in the back it would be justified that they be charged with murder," Crumb said. "So we wait for the officials to tell this family why this officer is going to be given any kind of different treatment than anybody else would be given who shot and killed a human being in such a reckless manner."

Crump said he and the Bradford family also met privately with Alabama Law Enforcement Agency officials, who asked him and the family to put out the word that they want to talk to anyone who witnessed to the shooting.

Staring into news cameras and speaking directly to the officer who shot his son, the elder Bradford said, "A bullet lodged in my son's throat. My son couldn't even scream for help. You think that makes me mad? Yeah, it pisses me off because I'm his father."

As the father spoke, renowned civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson stood next to him. On Saturday, Jackson gave the eulogy at Bradford's funeral and described the shooting as the "violent death of another innocent son wrapped in black skin."

"What you have done was destroy my family," the father said. "There's no justice if you get off from this. You will not get off with this. I will make sure."