Bodycam footage shows quick-thinking cop stop man from jumping off overpass
New bodycam footage has emerged of a police officer saving a young man's life who appeared to be contemplating committing suicide by jumping from a highway overpass. In the footage, the unnamed man can be seen sitting on the edge of the overpass with his feet dangling over the roadway below when the officer tentatively approaches him.
Keeping his distance, the York-Poquoson Virginia Sheriff's Deputy, James Robinson, speaks to the man but receives no answer or response of any kind. Robinson had been sent after multiple drivers called 911 to report the man.
Robinson then asked a few bystanders if they knew the man. They did not so he began to approach him.
"What's going on, man?" Robinson asks. "Can I talk to you for a moment? You wanna tell me what's up?"
He continues to receive the silent treatment.
Robinson promises he won't touch the man if he'll just come down from the ledge or talk to him, but he does not. At this point, Robinson knew he had to come up with a plan very quickly or things could take a turn for the worst at any moment.
Shelley Ward, a public information officer for the York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office, told ABC News that "[Robinson] knew his time was really limited and that he had to do something." She also revealed that the man only made eye contact once and refused to look up again.
It was at this point that Robinson distracted the man by pretending to help someone else nearby.
"Let me get this guy going right quick, and I'm [gonna] see what's going on, alright?" Robinson can be heard saying in the footage.
To see how this distraction changed the situation for the better, check out the footage of the incident below:
The man then lets his guard down, believing the officer has walked away, but Robinson actually uses the moment to get closer and pull the man from the ledge to the ground. Robinson then checks the man for weapons as he begins to cry, "I have nothing left."
"You do. You have plenty left," Robinson responds as he consoles the man. "You got a lot left. You got a lot in you."
The pair continued to talk after the video footage ended and the man was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation.
It is unclear what the man's condition is today and he has not had further contact with Robinson, but Robinson says he would like the man to know that "he doesn't have nothing to live for" and that "there's somebody out there who would be glad to listen to him."
Thanks to the kindness and compassion shown by Deputy Robinson, a man's life was saved.
"Deputy Robinson showed the utmost compassion for the man and reassured him that he still has a lot to live for," the sheriff's office wrote on Facebook. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to this man and his family."
We all lead busy lives and make excuses for things we don't have time for, but if you see someone in a crisis or even notice that a friend is not around as much as they used to be, or a neighbor is going through a hard time, check in with them.
Everyone needs to know that they are not alone. Be kind. Be a friend. Save a life.