MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — We’re hearing from the man’s family at the center of a more than five-hour standoff in downtown Mobile.
Monday evening they held a vigil for Terrance Duncan, who took his own life during that standoff with Mobile police in front of Government Plaza one week ago.
His family wanted to take this tragedy and turn it into something positive, by trying to make sure no other family has to feel their pain.
Family and friends gathered at Mardi Gras park, just across the street from where Terrance Duncan took his own life.
“Every day it still seems unreal, I still think that he’s either going to walk through the door or I’m going to call him or take him some medicine, I’m still in disbelief,” said Joycelynn Duncan, Terrance Duncan’s daughter.
Duncan said her father had been struggling with his mental health for about four to five years.
“He was struggling with what we believed was paranoid schizophrenia. What we know as reality, he did not think that was his reality. So in his mind, he lived a different life than us,” said Duncan.
She said they tried to get him help, but couldn’t get him the help he needed. “We’re talking with counselors and psychiatrists, he’s been to doctor’s appointments. But in the state of Alabama, if you’re not willing to get help, there’s nothing that they will be able for you to do. But, if an individual sees in their mind that they don’t need help, what’s left to do? So we’re stuck, there’s nothing else for us to do if the individual feels like there’s nothing wrong with them,” Duncan explained.
Last Monday, her father showed up across the street from Government Plaza holding a gun to his head. He was in a standoff with police for more than five hours before he took his own life.
Duncan said she was at work when she watched it on the news. She said they don’t know why he went downtown.
“They were talking about it at work and someone came and said if you have anyone downtown to just call and check on them, so when I saw the news, I saw the car, and I said it looked like that was my daddy’s car, so I needed to call to see what was going on,” said Duncan.
She went downtown as her family tried to help.
“Very traumatizing, actually. Hearing shots going off, and just being down here knowing you can’t get to your loved one in that time of need, that’s very heartbreaking and traumatizing,” said Duncan.
After his death, her family started a foundation, Walking With Terrance’s Fight, to educate people about mental health.
“It can happen to anyone, and I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re alone,” said Duncan.
She said they also want to be there for other families who may be going through a similar situation, hoping to prevent anyone else from going through what they are now.
“We’re going to fight together, and see the outcome will be good. Unfortunately, my dad had to sacrifice his life, but the outcome will be good,” said Duncan.
When Mobile Police identified Duncan, they also shared this message about mental health: “If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health crisis, call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or contact AltaPointe Health at 251-450-2211 for assistance to be connected to resources.”
As they remembered Terrance Duncan’s life Monday night, his family also had a representative from Altapointe at the vigil, to help other families who may be struggling.
If you’re interested in helping the Duncan family build their foundation, you can learn more here.