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Judge orders that evidence in Alabama mall shooting get turned over to suspect's lawyer

Emantic “E.J.” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. was killed by police who mistook him for the gunman in a shooting at a mall on Thanksgiving night.
Protesters carry a sign reading \"Justice for E.J.\" outside of the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Alabama, on Nov. 24, 2018.
Protesters carry a sign reading "Justice for E.J." outside of the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Alabama, on Nov. 24, 2018.Kim Chandler / AP

The Alabama mall shooting case in which police killed an African-American man they mistook for the gunman took a new turn as a judge ordered the release of all evidence to the lawyer for the person whom police now say was the shooter.

Jefferson County District Judge William A. Bell Jr. ruled Wednesday that prosecutors must turn over all evidence from the shooting incident at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama, to the lawyer for suspect Erron Brown.

"I asked for all body cams, I asked for all video of the scene, so we should get that," Brown's lawyer, Charles Salvagio, said at a Wednesday news conference.

Brown, 20, who was arrested last week, is charged with attempted murder in the shooting of an 18-year-old, who was injured, at the mall on Thanksgiving night.

In the incident, police fatally shot another man, Emantic “E.J.” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, whom they believed at the time was the gunman.

An independent autopsy released by the lawyer for Bradford's family showed he was struck three times from behind — in the head, neck and back.

Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., in his father's home near Birmingham, Alabama, in his senior year of high school.Emantic Bradford Sr via AP

The city of Hoover and Hoover police have not released any evidence in connection with the shooting of Bradford, saying Monday that doing so might jeopardize the state's investigation of the killing.

Bradford, an Army veteran, had a license to carry a weapon, according to his family. Witnesses have said he was trying to help people to safety when he was struck, his family's lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said Monday.

The officer who allegedly shot Bradford has not been publicly identified and is on paid administrative leave.

One of Hoover's city council members meanwhile issued a statement this week in response to the city’s decision not to release any information related to the Nov. 22 shooting.

Councilman Derrick Murphy, who is African-American, said he was encouraged by the willingness of city officials to hear perspectives different from their own.

Hoover, a suburb near Birmingham, has a population of about 85,000 that is 73.2 percent white.

Murphy said of he and fellow council members: “We’ve had many difficult conversations this past week, which revealed great differences in life experiences. They are conversations we likely would have never had.”

Murphy said he was disappointed the city could not give the Bradford family the answers they deserve sooner and pleaded for patience.

“Please be patient with me as I struggle to balance the privilege of being an elected official in the City of Hoover with the flinching of being an African-American following tragic circumstances like these,” he said.