Denver Police, Firefighters Stage Daring Rescue of Teen in 2-Hour Suicide Drama
Denver police and firefighters staged a daring rescue to save a 16-year-old boy from jumping to his death off the Franklin Street bridge over Interstate 25 on New Year's Eve.
The boy, whom police did not identify, began a nearly two-hour standoff at about 8 p.m. when he climbed over a 9-foot steel-barred fence and teetered on a 6-inch concrete ledge over northbound traffic on I-25.
Three cars below collided when drivers saw the boy, but there were no major injuries, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said. I-25 was shut down in both directions from Santa Fe to University to prevent more accidents, and the closure backed up traffic into the city for miles.
The boy, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was distraught about family problems and was serious about taking his life, Jackson said. During the standoff, the boy, wearing blue jeans, a coat and baseball cap on backward, dangled his feet high above a concrete median and rescuers below.
"Our negotiators felt that he was ready to take his own life, and we felt there was nothing else we could do but move on him," Jackson said. The boy "was very down and had very little family."
Two Spanish-speaking negotiators, Sgt. Jose Garcia and officer Jose Palomares, talked with the boy and became convinced that he was about to jump.
From the boy's blind side, officers and firefighters snuck a steel basket connected to a ladder under him.
While the boy was distracted, firefighter Adam Graham, with a rope tied to him, leaped over the fence and came down on the boy, pinning him to the ledge.
Garcia and Palomares also grabbed the boy through narrow openings in the fence as the boy struggled to get free and jump 40 feet to the concrete.
"That firefighter came over the top of that fence like in some kind of action movie," Jackson said.
Firefighters and cops stormed up another ladder and tied the struggling boy with yellow straps, then lowered him into the bucket where Sgt. Benny Trujillo was waiting.
"He was struggling with us at first," Trujillo said. "It got pretty dangerous up there, I'd say."
Graham is on the Fire Department's high-angle rescue team, Jackson said.
"Those guys are well-trained in these kinds of rescues, and their training paid off," Jackson said. "This was just a heroic effort all around."
Gawkers who stopped and wanted to watch were kept away because several of them were yelling at the boy, telling him to jump, Jackson said.
Once rescued, officers put him into an ambulance and took him to Denver Health Medical Center for a psychiatric hold. It is not yet determined what charges the boy will face, if any, Jackson said.
"This kid's still just a juvenile, and it has been a pretty bad time in his life," Jackson said. "We were just very fortunate to be able to save his life."
The boy told the negotiators he had one relative, an aunt, living in the Denver area but he would not give her name.
After the boy was brought down, the highway was immediately re-opened.
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Originally Posted by Rooster Rugburn:
Didn't the whole sheepdog thing actually start right here on Glock Talk? A bunch of wannabees bought a bunch of T-shirts and took an oath to defend those who won't defend themselves?