AUSTIN, Texas - Last Tuesday the Austin Police Department responded to a suicidal man who had climbed over the Congress Avenue Bridge. After about two hours, multiple officers were able to talk him out of going through with his attempt.
APD captured everything on body camera footage.
"This one was a first. I have talked to folks that may have felt suicidal or had some suicidal ideations but never someone who was in the act or the process of killing themselves, this is a first for me," Senior Police Officer Justin Berry said.
Berry has been with the department for 13 years and was one of the first to respond.
"I was afraid I’m not going to lie I was definitely afraid it was really sad to see someone like that in that type of emotional pain where they felt like they had no other option in their life," Berry said. "I was afraid if I said the wrong thing would that be enough for them to go through with it. I just wanted this person to not feel alone and what they had to say was important."\
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The words of encouragement worked. The man climbed back over to the safe side, after about two hours of going back and forth with police.
"A lot of people don’t understand there’s a lot of debris underneath those bridges," Berry said. "It’s especially dangerous especially at that height."
Berry says when they were speaking with the man, they promised they would get him help, and they’ve since connected him with a community outreach program to get him back on track. He says after leaving the scene last week, thinking about it has kept him up at night, the next day and even today.
"Right now with the crisis we’re facing there’s a lot of people that may have been laid off from work or don’t know what’s going to happen with their business or they don’t know what’s going to happen with their bills," Berry said. "I think it’s important to remind everyone to take the time and reach out to someone if you have a coworker that’s been laid off or furloughed, reach out and see how they’re doing especially if you haven’t heard from them in a few days or a few weeks."
APD says if you ever feel alone, never hesitate to reach out.