HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Investigations continue as police work to get to the bottom of the shooting that left 8-year-old Royta Giles Jr. dead and three other people injured at the Riverchase Galleria Mall Friday afternoon.
As a community continues to mourn, EJ Bradford Sr.’s family can relate like no other. EJ Bradford Jr.’s life was taken by a Hoover Police officer Thanksgiving night 2018 in the Riverchase Galleria Mall.
“You know Iike she said that was her baby and I understand that because EJ was my baby. It just opened up old wounds and brought back memories and not good ones,” EJ Bradford Sr. said.
Bradford Sr. says he is glad to see some changes have been made to law enforcement response to shootings at this mall, but there is still work that needs to be done.
“The Sheriff Department responded the State Trooper responded, but where was the response that night my son was murdered. They opened that mall right back up and I’m shocked its closed today respect for life that’s what they need to have,” EJ Bradford Sr. said.
He adds the community needs to uplift Royta’s mother during this time and help give her some peace of mind.
“I want her to get justice and I want the right person to get turned in. It’s going to be some lonely nights that’s she’s going to go through stuff and her family’s going to need to be there for her because she’s going to have days where it’s going to overcome her with grief. It comes in stages and I’m still going through it,” EJ Bradford Sr. said.
Activists including the organization “Stop the Violence” are working towards making a change in the community. Herman Henderson is gathering pastors, political and city leaders to help prevent tragedies like this from continuing to happen.
“We as pastors, we supposed to be a part of the community each one reach one, each one teach one. It takes a whole village to raise a child and I’m saying to us as leaders we got to turn the game around,” said Herman Henderson, President of Stop the Violence.
On Tuesday, The Stop the Violence organization plans to hold an event in remembrance of Royta Giles Jr. at the mall.