Negotiator Recalls Talking Jumper Down From Lefty O'Doul Bridge

Categories: Local News
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Alexia Tsotsis
This ended about as well as it could for the San Francisco Police Department on Tuesday
In Sergeant Carl T's world, there are three kinds of jumpers: The ones who are going to do it no matter what, the ones who are despondent and you just need to start talking to them, and ... the other kind.

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.

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Alexia Tsotsis
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."


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