Officer talks man out of jumping off Pueblo bridge

Officer talks man out of jumping off Pueblo bridge

PUEBLO, Colo. - A Pueblo police officer talked a man out of jumping off a bridge.

City workers saw a man sitting on the rail of the Union Avenue Bridge Wednesday morning with his legs hanging over the ledge and contacted police. Officer Christopher Alarid said when he arrived, a 38-year-old man was getting ready to jump.  

A camera mounted above the Pueblo Police Department, near the bridge, captured the tense situation. 

When Alarid approached the man, he stood up. "I thought he was going to jump, so I reached for him and he slipped out of my fingers and kind of told us to step back," he said.

Alarid spent the next 15 minutes trying to convince the man to get off the bridge. Meanwhile, the man stayed on the ledge, suspended more than 50 feet above the Arkansas River.

"He didn't really want to talk to us," Alarid said. "Basically said that he didn't want to be here anymore and after about 15 minutes, he told me that the only thing that would get him to come back across was if I could give him a cigarette."

And he did. As soon as the man knew someone had a cigarette, he went back over the railing and spoke with police. It was a happy ending officers feared they wouldn't see. Alarid has responded to numerous suicide calls during his eight years on the police force. None, he said, compared to what he saw Wednesday.

"It's the first time I've had somebody in such a crisis," he said.

Officers took the man for a health evaluation.  

Alaraid said, "It's just nice knowing that you're able to help somebody and keep somebody from really hurting themselves."

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