Officers’ actions ruled justified in Five Points deadly standoff; mother wants answers

Updated: Jan. 20, 2021 at 10:48 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - “The officers actions were justified,” that’s what the Madison County District Attorney’s Office ruled from the night Bradley Pugh was shot and killed by Huntsville Police Officers.

Adina Peyton says she wants more answers on the night her son was killed in a standoff with...
Adina Peyton says she wants more answers on the night her son was killed in a standoff with police.(WAFF)

But his family is still waiting to hear the full story of what happened that night.

Almost two months ago Bradley Pugh was shot after a two hour standoff on top of Ted’s Bar-B-Q. But what exactly led up to the officers firing their weapons? His mother Adina Peyton and her lawyer say the information given is far too vague.

“What is the problem? Why can’t I see what happened to my son?” Peyton asked.

Adina Peyton, the mother of Bradley Pugh, says she’s been asking the city and HPD for answers since her son was shot and killed on November 17.

But, she found out about the DA’s ruling through WAFF 48.

“I didn’t hear anything until the media sent me a thing, and said hey, sorry this happened. What? And then I started seeing Facebook people going I’m really sorry. Sorry about what,” Peyton asked.

About the Madison County District Attorney ruling deadly force used in Pugh’s encounter was justified.

A spokesperson for the Huntsville Police Department says they negotiated with Pugh to come off the roof, and after he got down he pointed his gun at officers.

We’re told officers attempted to use non-lethal force to get him down first, but were unsuccessful.

Peyton wants to know exactly what that non-lethal force was.

“I know the canine unit was there. If the canine unit had been released on my son, he might have a few dog bites, but he would be alive,” she said.

Hank Sherrod, Peyton’s attorney, says he has no reason to believe the officers’ actions were not justified, but he wants to see the body camera footage.

“It’s really easy to say he had a gun, he pointed it at us. But show us the money so to speak. Show us the evidence. If the police think they can just shoot and kill somebody who is a mentally ill person who never shot at them. They should have to explain how that happened,” Sherrod said.

“I’m not sure why the public isn’t more upset about this unless they’re just afraid to voice their opinion and they will not be afraid when its their child,” Peyton said.

Sherrod says now that the criminal investigation is closed, he hopes HPD will release the body camera footage.

He’s waiting on a response from an open records request.

Click here for the DA’s press release.

You can read Peyton’s full statement below:

As Brad’s mother, since shortly after his death, I have been seeking answers to basic questions about my son’s death from the City. I never asked for criminal charges. I wanted answers. I wanted to understand how this happened. I wanted to understand if there were lessons that could save a future Brad. I wanted non-criminal accountability of some sort if errors were made. The City has denied me answers. I wasn’t even told that the DA press release was coming even though I have been in regular communication with city attorney Trey Riley for weeks.

The City wants to hide behind a DA press release that, based on news articles, provides mostly conclusions, few details, and certainly no answers to some of my most basic questions like . . . What did HPD do to avoid being confronted with a suicidal person who wanted the police to shoot him? Did the city get appropriate professionals involved? Why was Brad allowed to come off the roof with a gun? Why wasn’t Brad taken down immediately after he came off the roof? How is it that the non-lethal force used by the officers was so ineffective? Was there no plan? Brad was one guy against the might of HPD SWAT. I just don’t understand.

I would hate to think HPD just got tired of the standoff and decided to let Brad come down with a gun to be “justifiably” shot (as Brad apparently wanted in his troubled mental state). So who gave the okay for Brad to come off the roof with his gun? Why? Did HPD know or believe that Brad’s gun had no bullets? That is a big fact neither the DA nor HPD have bothered to mention. Brad was armed with an empty gun.

It seems obvious to me that the tragedy that resulted was likely inevitable once the decision was made to let Brad, a man who had a gun and wanted to be shot, to come off the roof, but maybe there were good reasons to let him come down with a gun. Maybe there was a good plan that just did not work. I don’t know because HPD believes it does not have to answer questions from anyone, even Brad’s mother. Why does HPD shoot Brad and never have to hold a press conference and answer questions. Is it because someone like Brad, he just doesn’t matter? Is it because HPD believes it does not have to be accountable when it kills a citizen? Why isn’t the city council demanding answers? If police can kill without any public accountability, whether the person is black, white, man, woman, rich, poor, mentally ill, whatever, the society we live in is less safe for all of us.

The City and the DA now have their “shooting justified, no criminal charges” publicity, but this was never a criminal matter. The City just wants to use the cover of a criminal investigation to avoid answering questions. I accept and understand that no criminal charges are going to be filed, but I cannot accept that this city allows its police department to kill my son and keep all of the details secret. The City does not want to provide me or the public with real answers and be available for real accountability.

If HPD had nothing to hide, why hasn’t it released more information? Why hasn’t the City let me (or my representative) see the body camera footage?

The City’s unwillingness to be transparent with me and the public about what happened and to now hide beneath the DA’s petticoats is everything that is wrong with policing in general and policing in our city.

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