Hoover councilman calls for unity in the wake of the Riverchase Galleria shooting, in the future

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HOOVER, Ala. - The shooting at the Riverchase Galleria happened one week ago. On Thursday, authorities found the man they believe is the actual shooter, 20-year-old Erron Brown.

Despite the arrest, activists are still not satisfied with the way Hoover Police handled the shooting, highlighting racial undertones after a young African American man, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. was shot and killed by a police officer. That is according to Hoover Police.

The US Marshals found Brown in Fairburn, Georgia around 9 a.m. on Thursday. Police believe he pulled the trigger shooting 18-year-old Brian Wilson on Thanksgiving night.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which is handling the investigation, reported Wilson and a 12-year-old girl were shot outside the Footaction shoe store at the mall on November 22.

Police responded, and amidst the chaos of people running, said they say Bradford Jr. with a gun in his hand, that he was reportedly legally allowed to carry, and initially believed he was the shooter. Hoover Police said an officer, who still has not been named, fatally shot Bradford Jr.

Protests erupted. Activists took to the streets, making their voices heard in front of the jail, the Hoover Mayor's house and even on the highway. On Thursday, activists joined the Hoover City Council in requesting that ALEA release the information it has, including body camera footage.

Councilman Derrick Murphy gave a passionate address to reporters. Murphy said the racial animosity that's risen in the wake of the shooting of Bradford has no place in Hoover nor anywhere else. Some of Murphy's words mirrored another prominent man who also called for peaceful unity.

"For me, I choose love because hate is too heavy of a burden to carry," Councilman Murphy said.

Murphy closed out his address to reporters on Thursday with a 1967 quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King spent his adult life trying to unify the country.

Now, Murphy is trying to unify his city following the holiday shooting.

"We have to keep growing," Murphy commanded. "We have to decide whether we want to unify or divide, whether we're going to choose the side of hate, or choose the side of love."

In the days following the shooting,  people protested. Councilman Murphy said he's heard and seen people made racist comments about the shooting.

"I can't tell you who said it," Murphy said. "I can tell you that hate has no place anywhere, in our city."

Murphy said it's past time to talk about a more peaceful future.

"Out of tragedy comes an opportunity," Murphy said. "This time is no different. We have an obligation to have tough conversation, one that needs to be led for this country. We have to examine ourselves. We have to talk about race. We can't stop talking about race, even when this is over."

Following the news conference in which Murphy spoke, activists talked with reporters. They brought up the 12-year-old girl who was shot.

In the wake of this shooting and the arrest of Brown, one activist said race is once again playing a role.

"But the only mug shot that we know of is a black man, Erron Brown," Le' Darius Hilliard, an activist, said. "The only face that is plastered all over social media and the national news is a young black man. However whoever the Hoover police officer is, whether is black or white, he has a blue shield. We haven't seen his face yet. That is the point. The protests will continue until justice is served."

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