Mother of man shot and killed by Huntsville police understands what Steve Perkins’ family is going through

WAFF 48's Sean Dowling reporting.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 8:06 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Three years ago today, Huntsville Police officers fired 16 shots at Bradley Pugh while he was in the middle of a manic episode.

His mother is still pushing for transparency, and access to crisis intervention training for first responders should something like this ever happen again.

Pugh’s mother, Adina Peyton says this disaster changed her life, but it also gave her a new purpose.

“For about nine months, I fought as hard as I could because I felt like there should be accountability. Then I surrendered and gave up,” Peyton said. “And in just a split second, sitting in a red light, God changed my vision and allowed me to see what first responders see. And I realized the trauma that they’re in on a daily basis, and that I couldn’t affect mental illness as a whole for the whole community, but I could for a certain select group of people.”

That’s how she came up with the idea for her non-profit, GRAMI. It stands for Getting Real About Mental Illness.

Her goal is to destigmatize mental illness by providing funding for first responders to be able to get private mental health appointments, and have officers go through crisis intervention training.

The non-profit helped send two law enforcement officers to Crisis Intervention Training in Detroit and funded their certification to train other officers.

The standoff that November night in 2020 lasted three hours.

An incident review board eventually found the shooting to be justified.

Peyton called for transparency early on, asking repeatedly to see the body cam footage, but was only given a snippet.

Peyton says she knows exactly how another family in the Valley is feeling right now; the family of Steve Perkins after he was shot by Decatur Police in late September and they have yet to see the footage.

”I would just tell them, you know, stay hopeful. Go through the process like I did because we have to change legislation. It’s not a local decision,” Peyton said.

“I really put myself in their position and I feel for them right now because it’s a very tough place to be.”

As for the work GRAMI is doing, Peyton is confident the training will help save lives.

”Had there been a trained crisis intervention person there that night, it may have gone differently. When they were able to talk Brad down there was probably a training mistake,” Peyton said.

“So I’m so grateful that the training is being encouraged and required because I’m certainly supporting the police right now, and encouraging them as I see the changes occur in the city because there have been.”

There will be a celebration of life event for Bradley Pugh across the street from the barbecue restaurant this morning at 10:10 a.m. at 201 Dement Street.

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