Mobile city officials have questions about emergency notifications after the Government Plaza standoff | Techy Kings


Mobile city officials praised their police department for its role in handling a tense standoff with a lone gunman Monday near Government Square.

But at the same time, some council members questioned whether there was a better way to inform workers at the mobile home center about the shooting.


Mobile Government Plaza on lockdown: Man fatally shoots himself after daytime attack

The gunman who fatally shot himself in front of Mobile Government Plaza has been identified

Councilman Scott Jones said during a council meeting before the conference that he was concerned that Government Plaza staff were not immediately informed of the activity behind the building on Government Street.

“The technology is there, and we have to find a way to bring it to the workforce,” Jones said.

Councilman William Carroll said he would like to see an alert sent to city staff in the event of an emergency.

“We have the resources and we have to make them happen,” Carroll said.

Indeed, some city and county employees inside the building were unaware of the initial shutdown of Government Plaza when they first learned of it after watching local television reports that covered the entire incident live over a 5-1/2-hour period.

The entire building was locked down for less than an hour in the morning. The northern parts of the building, which houses the courthouse and is adjacent to Government Street, were closed and staff and visitors were evacuated.

At the other end of the building, where the city and county offices are located, workers were allowed to enter and exit the building via Joachim Street.

Another suggestion was to announce the situation through the building’s public address system.

“I thought it was weird that we weren’t notified over the PA system,” said Lisa Lambert, Mobile city clerk.

Lawrence Battiste, the city’s director of public safety, said there will be an “after-action” notice to close the building to see what improvements could be implemented in the event of another accident.

After a major incident like Monday’s standoff, police typically conduct an after-action analysis.

“Could we do a better job?” The answer is always yes, Battiste said. “We’re trying to set up a texting system and a notification system to alert all city employees that something is going on and they should be careful.”

The council largely praised the work of police, who spent more than five hours trying to negotiate with the gunman, who was identified as 49-year-old Terrance Duncan on Tuesday morning.

The standoff ended in tragedy, despite police efforts to get Duncan to surrender. Duncan fatally shot himself in the head around 3:30 p.m.

Battiste said authorities are unsure of Duncan’s motive. He and others said the incident was linked to mental illness.

“We don’t know if it was mental illness,” he said. “But there is certainly a possible history of drug use and people use drugs to hide mental illness.” We don’t know that.”

Battiste said police should have more details after the autopsy is completed.

Some council members said Duncan’s behavior should serve as a wake-up call to the city’s untreated mental illness.

“I’ve been saying for months that we have a mental health problem in the city and we need to address it,” Jones said.

Council chairman CJ Small said he believed the incident was “another example” of Mobile addressing a growing problem.

“I think a lot of times we have these needless homicides that come from mental illness,” Small said. “Mental illness affects our city and our citizens.


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