911 calls, details released from fatal officer-involved shooting

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on April 12, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 17 at 11:22 AM

AUSTIN --  "What happened to my son?"

That tearful question from Angela Orr, mother of the man who was shot and killed by an Austin police officer April 5, got some answers Thursday.

"Emotions such as anger, despair, and denial are absolutely understood, and natural, and expected," said Austin Assistant Police Chief Sean Mannix. "With that said, however, I believe Mr. Bradley's family has been given some misinformation."

Last Saturday, the family watched cell phone video taken from the scene the night of the shooting and laid out the story they had been told.

"Why did the officers even follow him from a gas station? Pull him over, let him go, pull him over, let him go?" questioned Orr. 

Mannix says Officer Eric Copeland never let Bradley go.

"Officer Copeland initiated a a traffic stop on the 6000 block of Manor Road for amplified music...Officer Copeland was able to detect the smell of marijuana," Mannix said.

Mannix says Copeland asked Bradley to get out of the vehicle. Instead, he fled jumping out of his vehicle and running on Overbrook Drive.

"At one point, in reviewing the dash cam video from Officer Copeland's vehicle, you can see them run across the field of view of the camera where Officer Copeland attempts to stop Mr. Bradley by using his taser," Mannix said. 

The taser failed and a struggle began. Police say Bradley choked Copeland with own police radio cord -- so hard it broke the radio. As the fight raged, residents called 911.

"He had the police officer down in the ground, and it looked like he was trying to take his gun," said a female caller. 

"Should I go help him?" a male caller asked the dispatcher. "It looks like he's about to be hurt. It looks like he's about to be smothered."

"Officer Copeland took defensive measures to protect his weapon and was able to kick Mr. Bradley away from at a distance of about three or four feet with both of them still on the ground," said Mannix. "Mr. Bradley attempted to reengage officer Copeland, at which time, he drew and fired his service weapon."

"Oh my God! Oh my God, he shot him," exclaimed the male 911 caller. "Who shot who?" asked the dispatcher. "The cop shot him," the man replied. 

"Oh God! The cop just shot him," the female caller told a dispatcher.

Police say Bradley was shot three times in the upper torso. Bradley's family heard differently.

"Witnesses have told us that they shot him three times in the back," Orr told reporters last Saturday. 

That is a rumor Mannix says simply is not true. "All shots fired were consistent with two people facing each other," he said.

Mannix said officers are trained to shoot two or three times in the upper torso, as Copeland did.

Officer Copeland suffered a broken finger. He is still on administrative leave.

Police believe Bradley had an incentive to run. They found more than one ounce of cocaine and $1,700 on him. Police believe he was planning to sell the drugs.

Click here to hear the 911 calls in their entirety.

Thursday Bradley's mother had no comment. She said she is planning his funeral.

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