San Francisco police used a man’s pet cat to talk him down from a ledge. After a three-hour standoff, officers convinced the suicidal man to surrender himself peacefully by allowing him to see his beloved orange tabby named Trip.
As reported by the Huffington Post, the incident began when the unidentified man was caught driving a vehicle in the South of Market San Francisco neighborhood without license plates. After he was pulled over, police realized the car was stolen. The driver fled the vehicle and ran to a nearby apartment building. He climbed to the third floor and appeared at the edge of a window, threatening to jump.
According to WCVB, the man was wearing nothing but black shorts. He was barefoot and visibly distraught. Local news reported that he appeared to be in an “altered state,” implying he was either intoxicated or experiencing some sort of mental breakdown. Police set up foam pads on the ground below the third-floor window, hoping to catch the man if he went through with the attempted suicide.
Department spokesperson Officer Grace Gatpandan says the man stayed there for almost three and a half hours while police tried to talk him down. During the exchange, the suicidal suspect talked to police about a range of topics. Eventually, his pet cat Trip came up, which gave the San Francisco officers a brilliant idea. They could get him to surrender if they offered to bring his pet cat to see him.
“The suspect talked to police about a lot of things. That’s how the cat came into play,” said Gatpandan. “The second that cat arrived, we were able to talk him out.”
The man agreed to come down off the ledge. He was brought down from the apartment and handcuffed, but he was allowed to see his precious kitty Trip as promised.
Though Officer Gatpandan suggested it was instantaneous, local news reported that it took another 45 minutes to talk the man down from the ledge after the cat arrived — but it’s clear that the tabby was the deciding factor in ending the three-hour standoff. The man’s friends and family were even brought in to talk him down, but they weren’t enough. It wasn’t until the cat showed up that the suspect surrendered.
Highway Patrol took the cat lover into custody but did not reveal what charges he would face. The man will have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before he’s taken to jail.
Officer Gatpandan tweeted about the strange but heartwarming negotiation, sharing a photo of the now-famous cat Trip with the world.
— Ofc. Grace Gatpandan (@OfficerGrace) October 8, 2015
If the owner is taken to jail or even prison, Trip will reportedly be taken care of by the man’s family until he’s able to see the cat again.
Officer Gatpandan admitted that the suspect would face consequences for the auto theft but made a point to address the human side of criminals, tweeting “Yes, an auto theft suspect was taken into custody. But don’t we all have soft spots for something?”
Would the chance to see your pet cat again be enough to talk you out of suicide? Would it be worth it to see your kitty one more time, even if it meant you had to go to prison afterwards? Leave a comment below.
— Albie Esparza (@OfficerAlbie) October 8, 2015
[Image credit: San Francisco Police, buzz60]