Police talk Texas man out of suicide attempt

Officers spent a tense 40 minutes convincing a man to step away from a freeway railing

 By Greg Kendall-Ball
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, Texas — Abilene police officers spent a tense 40 minutes Tuesday night trying to talk a man out of jumping off a highway overpass.

Lt. Mike Collins said someone called 911 around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, saying a 23-year-old Hispanic man had threatened to "take his phone and go kill himself." Officers responded to the caller at the intersection of North First Street and Pioneer Drive, where they received a description of the man, who had left the scene.

At 8:59 p.m., an officer spotted the man sitting on the edge of the Winters Freeway overpass. Traffic was quickly blocked on the freeway and on North First Street below the bridge. An ambulance and fire engine were dispatched and staged nearby.

Collins said Officer Damien Hutchinson was the first on the scene. "He did a real good job keeping him calm, and convincing him not to jump until our negotiator could get there," Collins said.

Sgt. Ken Robinson, a trained hostage negotiator, happened to be on duty Tuesday evening. Collins said Robinson and other APD officers talked with the man, trying to persuade him not to jump.

Finally, at 9:38 p.m., the man swung his legs over the railing and walked toward officers. Collins said the man was taken to the Taylor County Law Enforcement Center for psychiatric evaluation.

Abilene police officers talk with a 23-year-old man who was threatening to jump off the Winters Freeway bridge over North First Street on Tuesday evening. After about 40 minutes, officers were able to persuade the man to leave the ledge, and he was taken to the Taylor County Law Enforcement Center for psychiatric evaluation.

Copyright 2011 The E.W. Scripps Company

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