Negotiator Recalls Talking Jumper Down From Lefty O'Doul Bridge
|This ended about as well as it could for the San Francisco Police Department on Tuesday|
This guy was the other kind.
T -- who legally changed his last name to T -- was the first man up the Lefty O'Doul Bridge adjacent to AT&T Park on Tuesday, when an apparently deranged man scaled the structure and began acting erratically.
"He didn't want anything," T said of the would-be jumper -- who, at the time of our last call, remained in the General Hospital psychiatric ward. "That was the real hard part."
On the plus side, T didn't get the vibe this guy was going to jump. "He was a homeless guy who seemed like he was having mental problems. But he didn't seem like he was having suicidal mental problems."
T chatted with the man for around an hour and a half. The would-be jumper talked a lot -- but he didn't say anything.
|Now we know why Kevin Martin was wearing a Johnny Unitas jersey while talking a man down off a bridge...|
"In my experience, no matter how crazy a person is presenting, I know they'll hear the noise coming out of my mouth," says T. "I keep saying 'this is not a good place to be and we want to help.'" Sooner or later, even people like this jumper realize that they'd be better off on the ground than atop a bridge. He descended in a steel cage attached to a fire rig's extended ladder flanked by T and Kevin Martin -- the Police Officers Association vice president and the guy in the blue Johnny Unitas throwback jersey.
While a couple of cops told SF Weekly on Tuesday that a jersey like that might be more welcoming for a terrified jumper than a policeman's uniform, it turns out that just happens to be what Martin wears on his own time. He was off duty when he got the call and sped to the bridge.
"He wears a variety of jerseys," affirms T. "Usually it's the Giants or Yankees. But yesterday it was Johnny Unitas."