Three Arkansas police officers intervened to stop a man who appeared ready to take his own life by jumping off a six-story parking structure. Officers first talked with the man before physically pulling him to safety, local ABC-affiliate KATV reported Thursday.
Body camera footage from Little Rock Police officer Jimmy Stanchak shows the officer slowly approaching the potential jumper from approximately 100 feet away on Wednesday morning. Officer Stanchak immediately makes his presence known to the man, calling out “what’s up bud” as he drew closer.
The one-minute video then cuts to show Stanchak standing about 10 feet to the left of the man who had climbed over the roof railing and was standing on a very narrow ledge while facing the street and gripping a support beam directly to his right. Two other LRPD officers, later identified as Joseph Robillard and Samuel Hill, can also been seen standing about 15 to 20 feet to the man’s right.
“I’m Jimmy. I’m not gonna touch you, I’m just trying to get to where I can see you better,” Stanchak says. “Is there anything you want to talk about? Is there anything I can help you with? Anything I can do for you?”
The footage again skips forward slightly and Stanchak can be heard saying, “We’re just here to help you, man. We want to get you some help.”
The man on the building’s edge does not appear to respond to any of the officer’s questions throughout the video, though he can be heard crying.
Stanchak then asks for the man’s name but moments later the footage cuts out and a message from the department comes up on the screen which read: “Officer Stanchak attempted several times to get the man to surrender but he was crying while holding on to the wall and close to the edge. Officer [Stanchak] then made a quick decision to pull him from the edge of the building.”
When the footage returns, Stanchak appears to be standing still about 10 feet away from the man when he quickly runs at the man with both of his arms extended, grabbing the potential jumper by the waist. The other two officers immediately ran over and assisted Stanchak; the three pulled the man back over the roof railing. The video then cuts to another message from the department that read: “After being rescued by officers, [the man on the roof] was sent for a medical evaluation.”
Following the incident, Stanchak told KATV that the man’s lack of responsiveness made him think he had to physically intervene to stop him from jumping off the roof.
“The fact that he refused to communicate with us, he didn’t want to negotiate,” Stanchak told the outlet. “He didn’t want to talk about what was going on in his life. He had made a decision.”
Further evincing that position was Stanchak’s incident report, which said that just before the officer decided to grab the man, the man had closed his eyes and lowered his head “as if he was going to jump.”
KATV reported that all three of the officers involved said their training had prepared them for the situation.
“We all reacted. We knew each other, we cued off of each other and off his body language, and we all worked together to get him off the ledge safely,” Hill told the outlet.
“It’s just a part of the job. It’s what we do. It’s what we train to do.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.
[image via KATV/Twitter screengrab]
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