Huntsville police justified in deadly shooting of suspect, Madison County DA finds

Bradley Pugh

Bradley Pugh was shot and killed Nov. 16.

Posted: Jan 19, 2021 3:21 PM
Updated: Jan 20, 2021 11:08 AM

The Madison County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that the Huntsville Police Department’s use of deadly force against a suspect in November was justified.

Bradley Pugh was shot and killed Nov. 16. (Read more HERE and HERE)

Pugh was found waving a gun while standing on the roof of Ted’s Bar-B-Q in Five Points about 10 p.m. Nov. 16.

About two hours later, he came down and ran away from police. Police said Pugh pointed his gun at them.

The Tuesday news release from District Attorney Robert Broussard said “Multiple officers then employed deadly physical force by discharging their firearms killing Mr. Pugh.”

See the full report, and a statement from Pugh's mother, below:

Statement of Adina Peyton, Brad’s mother, prepared with the assistance of her attorney, Hank Sherrod:

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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