One year later: Mother of man killed in stand off with Huntsville police speaks on mental health

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 9:11 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - One year ago Tuesday, in the middle of a mental crisis, Bradley Pugh went up onto the roof of Ted’s Bar-B-Q in the Five Points area in Huntsville with a gun.

On November 17, Bradley Pugh was shot 16 times by Huntsville Police after an hours long...
On November 17, Bradley Pugh was shot 16 times by Huntsville Police after an hours long standoff in Five Points.(Pugh Family)

When he came down hours later, Huntsville Police say he turned to run away and pointed a gun at them. That’s when he was shot and killed.

The district attorney’s officers ruled two months later that the officers’ actions were justified.

His mother is looking back on this past year, examining the important issue of mental health.

Adina Peyton says her faith is what’s gotten her through this past year, and the belief that God is using Brad’s death to bring positive change here in Huntsville.

Huntsville Police officers fired 16 shots at Bradley Pugh on November 17, 2020.

Pugh, who was having a manic episode, climbed onto the roof of Ted’s Bar-B-Q one year ago Tuesday and brought an unloaded gun with him.

Adina Peyton, Pugh’s mother, says she knew her son was manic but did not know he was suicidal.

“I would have never sent him on his way had I known that. And I’ve gone over it a thousand times, what I could have done different,” she explained.

Peyton says this disaster changed her life, but she has a new purpose.

“I believe this death and the way it went down has got people talking about mental illness and mental health. That’s what brings me comfort is believing there’s a purpose and a plan,” she said.

Since last November, Huntsville Police have added a new co-response program. That’s where a trained mental health clinician responds to mental health crisis calls with police officers.

“There was change that took place within the Huntsville Police Department. That is so encouraging because I have not really heard of any tragedies of that nature since Brad. You know, I really wish it would’ve happened sooner but that’s very encouraging,” Peyton said.

Right now, there are no 24-hour centers open that are dedicated to caring for people in a mental health crisis in North Alabama, but there will be soon.

WellStone is set to open it either late spring or early summer next year.

“I believe we’re going to see a very big change in this city and if we can grow with the mental health like we’re growing commerce, it’s going to be the best thing ever,” Peyton said.

Peyton says she has big plans to keep making an impact.

She hopes to start a nonprofit called GRAMI, or Getting Real About Mental Illness next year.

And if you’re struggling and want to know some local mental health resources, you can use these services below:

24/7 Access to Care Help Line: (256-705-6444)

During business hours, you can come to the WellStone Services Center on Memorial PK

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