BODY CAMERA VIDEO: St. Charles County police officers save man sitting on ledge of overpass
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Two St. Charles County police officers are credited with saving the life of a man suffering a mental health crisis last month.
Officers Angelo Moreno and Mchail Clarke responded to a call about a suicidal person threatening to jump off the overpass at Highway 79 and Salt River Road in early May. Both officers were nearby and responded to the call.
“I got out of the car and I saw him sitting on the ledge,” said Moreno. “He did not acknowledge me, I tried multiple times, I asked him if he needed assistance or what was going on and he said, ‘leave me alone, I don’t need anything, I’m fine.’”
Moreno said the man was in clear distress, so he continued to try talking with him, asking his name and what he could do to help. Moments later, Officer Clarke arrived to provide help.
“My approach is slow,” Clarke said. “You don’t want to push anything, you don’t want them to jump because you’re approaching too fast, so I took care of the radio and made sure officers knew they needed to block off the highway.”
Moreno and Clarke work together everyday and both men said based on training and their personal relationship, they knew what needed to happen.
“When I saw him crying and scooting up on the ledge, I knew we had to do something right away,” said Moreno. “Usually if someone is talking with you or calls you themselves, it can be resolved. He was not talking with us, so I was really worried.”
As Clarke tried to start talking with the man, Moreno said he approached from the right side as the man was looking straight ahead.
“I just decided to sprint toward him and grab him as fast as I could and help him off the bridge before anything bad could happen to him,” he said.
Once the man was safely on the ground, body camera video captures the officers speaking with him, asking him what he needs, what his name is and reassuring him he will be okay.
The gentle approach, Moreno and Clarke said, critical to handling mental health crises.
“I believe that the way you speak to someone that is going through like that in life, it’s going to affect them in the future, there was no reason for us to be aggressive in any manor,” said Moreno. “We were not in danger.”
The man was uninjured and taken to the hospital for treatment. He gave Moreno a hug as he left.
“I believe all he needed was a hug, so I gave him one,” he said. “I wished him good luck and I’m glad we were able to help him and get him the resources he needed.”
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