Trial Begins in Independence Center Shooting Case

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Prosecutors charged Eric D. Bratton in connection with the Independence Center shooting on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Jury selection has begun in the trial of a man accused of opening fire at Independence Center in January.

Eric D. Bratton, 23, faces first-degree aggravated assault, second-degree aggravated assault and two counts of armed criminal action for his suspected involvement in the January 14th shooting at Independence Center.

Related: Charges Filed in Mall Shooting

According to court documents, thee victims – a man and woman – told police that two men followed them into the Independence Center and made a comment about the woman`s buttocks. The male victim said he turned around and questioned the man about his comments and the man became confrontational and threatened him.

The female victim said the shooter then yelled, “You heard me white boy! You don`t mess with me!”

According to their statements, the shooter then struck the man in the back of the head and the two men began to fight. The other man accompanying the shooter then pulled them apart and the victim says he thought the fight was over. The victim and his female companion say they walked away but the man with whom he fought followed them saying he wanted to “finish this.”

The victim said he watched as the shooter pulled out a black semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and then fired three shots at them. The male victim was shot in the leg and he says the gunman attempted to shoot him in the head but narrowly missed.

Police say numerous tips were received from the public to identify Bratton as the shooter and that both the victims identified Bratton in a police lineup.

Bratton is being held on a $500,000 bond.

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