HOOVER, Ala. — City of Hoover officials met with and apologized to family members of the man fatally shot by police at the Riverchase Galleria Thanksgiving night.
According to the city, Councilman Derrick M. Murphy arranged a meeting with the Bradford family before a prayer vigil held at Birmingham's historic 16th Street Baptist Church Monday night. The councilman, Mayor Frank Brocato, and Police Chief Derzis apologized for inaccurately identifying Bradford as the shooter and offered condolences and prayers for the family's loss. The shooter remains at large.
Councilman Murphy will speak to media about the fatal shooting Thursday at 9 a.m.
The city postponed its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony out of "respect of loss of life." Demonstrators had planned a protest at the Thursday event, which has not been rescheduled, according to the Associated Press.
Bradford's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the 5,000-seat Boutwell Auditorium.
The city released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
Following this tragedy, Councilman Derrick M. Murphy arranged a meeting with the family of Mr. Emantic "EJ" Bradford, Jr. Mr. Bradford's mother, father, and loved ones graciously agreed to sit and speak with Councilman Murphy, Mayor Brocato, and Chief Derzis on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, before the prayer vigil held in Mr. Bradford's remembrance. Mayor Brocato, Councilman Murphy, and Chief Derzis expressed their sincerest condolences and prayers to Mr. Bradford's family on their loss. Chief Derzis acknowledged and apologized for the issuance of an inaccurate public statement in the wake of this tragedy that implied that Mr. Bradford was the suspected shooter. During the meeting, city officials answered any questions that they could.
The City appreciates the Bradford family agreeing to sit down with city representatives during this difficult time. Our collective thoughts and prayers will continue to be with the Bradford family in the coming days, weeks, months, and years, as they begin the healing process.
While the family continues to wait for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's release of surveillance video the captured the fatal shooting, Bradford's father, a Birmingham Police Department employee says he understands the process of law enforcement. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin offered his thoughts and concern for the grieving family on Wednesday.
"Right now, all of my energy is spent on concern and empathy and sympathy for his parents," says Mayor Woodfin. "They deserve a transparent process. They deserve full candor and honesty of whatever has happened. All of my thoughts, all of my prayers are with his family."
Mayor Woodfin also addressed the need to end violence across the metro, calling on social activists to help.
"If the activists have another idea, a better idea to decrease the violence that we are seeing from people — from motorists driving around with illegal guns — tell me so we can do it. In the meantime, we’re going to continue to enforce the laws and engage citizens in a way where we are not infringing upon the rights, but making sure we’re keeping people safe.”