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Man killed during Black Friday sales at Alabama mall mistaken for gunman

Multiple witnesses said they heard as many as 10 shots after an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl were injured when they were struck by gunfire.
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Authorities in Alabama say they have launched an investigation on an attack that took place near Birmingham Thursday night after a fight left one person dead and two others injured.

The Hoover Police Department in Alabama told news outlets Friday that the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting an investigation into a shooting that occurred during a Black Friday sale at the Riverchase Galleria in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover.

Police were called on the scene as hundreds of people fled Riverchase Galleria after gunshots were reported at 9:52 p.m. (10:52 p.m. ET), witnesses said.

Hoover Police Capt. Gregg Rector said the incident began with a fight between two people, with one man pulling a gun and shooting an 18-year-old man twice in the torso.

Officials initially said Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, had fired the rounds that injured an 18-year-old man he was fighting with at the Riverchase Galleria but on Friday released an updated statement saying that while Bradford "may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation," evidence showed he was likely not the shooter and that a gunman remained at large.

Two other people were a injured, including a 12-year-old girl. The 12-year-old girl was struck by the gunfire in circumstances that remains unclear; she was described as alert, conscious and talking, Rector said.

Police have yet to release the names of the injured victims.

Meanwhile, the officer involved in the shooting has been placed in administrative leave as the investigation into the shooting is carried out, Rector said in a Friday statement.

The mall was going to remain closed until further notice on Thursday, but has since reopened as the retail group says there is “no current danger” to the community.

“We are devastated by the incident that happened last night in our shopping center,” wrote Lindsay Kahn, a spokesperson for Brookfield Properties retail group who owns the mall. “We are working closely with the Hoover Police Department and are grateful for their swift action to contain the situation.”

Multiple witnesses told NBC affiliate WVTM of Birmingham that they heard as many as 10 shots. Shopping was cut short on Thanksgiving Day last year when fights broke out at the same mall. One person was treated for minor injuries.