Heroics by police, priest save a distraught man

A recap of the news story --- omitting names to protect the parties concerned

or --- Click for page 3 of the series

Police made a dramatic rescue last night to save the life of a 21-year-old man who threatened to jump off an 11-story hotel near downtown.

A Police Sergeant of the 1st. (Central) Precinct broke his ankle and crushed the ball of his foot when he jumped 15 feet from a storage shed located on the roof of the hotel and helped grab the 21-year-old from out of state.

A priest and another officer on the roof subdued the young man. A friend of the man also came to the roof to try to talk him out of jumping.

The man told the police that he was distraught because he didnít have a job. He had been standing at the edge of the roof and threatening to jump for two hours last night while a crowd of several hundred gathered below and jeered him.

A Police Field Inspector said the man lured from the edge of the roof to a telephone that had been brought for him to talk to his mother long distance.

The telephone, with an intentionally shortened extension cord, had been placed near a door leading to the roof from the storage building.

When the young man came to the telephone and started talking, the Sergeant moved to the edge of the storage building roof -- at a signal from the other officer Ė leaped toward him.

The man startled by the officer, started to move toward the edge but was tackled by the police chaplain who came to the roof to try to talk the man out of jumping.

The Sergeant, with a broken ankle, also attempted to grab the man as the Field Inspector came racing over.

The three wrestled the man to the roof as he still tried to reach out and pull himself to the edge.

"The man scrambled with all his might for the ledge and we all almost went over," said the Inspector, 46 who devised the rescue plan to distract the man with a phone call.

"He was going to jump and he wasnít kidding about it. I think we definitely saved his life."

"He told us he was upset because nobody loved him and he didnít have a job."

The Sergeant, 33, an 11-year veteran, suffered a broken ankle in the fall and was treated and released from the hospital.

The 21-year-old, a Mexican immigrant, is being held at the hospital for psychiatric observation.


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