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Examiner
  • Independence Center shooter found guilty

  • A Jackson County jury found Eric D. Bratton guilty Wednesday in connection with a shooting at Independence Center last January.

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  • A Jackson County jury found Eric D. Bratton guilty Wednesday in connection with a shooting at Independence Center last January.
    Bratton, 25, of Kansas City, was found guilty on two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action. With closing arguments ending just after noon, the jury only deliberated for a few hours before coming to the decision. Bratton will be sentenced Feb. 14 and could face life in prison.
    Bratton was being held on a $500,000 bond on the charges.
    The charges stem from an incident Jan. 14, 2012, at Independence Center near an entrance to Sears. Bratton and another man got into a fight after Bratton made a lewd comment about the man’s girlfriend. This comment started a physical and verbal altercation. Once the fight broke up, the couple continued walking through the mall. Surveillance video shows that Bratton followed the two people and continued to exchange words with them. He then pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and shot at the couple, hitting one of them in the leg and the other in the foot. A third shot missed either person.
    Shoppers in Independence Center at the time described the scene as “chaotic.” Surveillance video taken from the shopping center shows shoppers fleeing the scene as the gunshots echoed through the building. Most of the stores shut their gates quickly, ushering customers to the back for safety. The mall was also placed on lockdown for a brief time.
    Bratton argued in court that he was shooting in self defense, thinking that the male victim could have been carrying a gun. However, prosecutors said the Kansas City man could not claim self defense because the couple had already started walking away.
     
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