A police officer from Atlantic City saved a suicidal man after pulling him away from the edge of a building and telling him that he loved him.
On October 14, Wednesday, the police received a call about the man stood on the edge of a parking garage, and arrived at the scene sooner after 9 pm.
The distressed man was on FaceTime with someone at the time of the incident when Officer Eric Knuttel, a member of the department’s Crisis Negotiation Team, engaged in conversation with him in an attempt to talk him down.
After 10 minutes of chatting, the man started moving closer to the edge of the parking garage, according to reports. As he did so, Officer Knuttel moved in and grabbed the man’s leg to stop him from jumping. Other police officers then came to their aid and helped bring both men away from the edge.
A bodycam video shows that the distressed man sat on the floor with the officers surrounding him and embracing him, while the person on FaceTime could be heard shouting in distress. One officer tells the distressed man that ‘it’s going to be alright.’
On the video, the man said something inaudible, but one officer thought to be Knuttel replied with, ‘I can’t because I love you, alright? I love you.’
The person on FaceTime can be heard saying, ‘Do not hurt him’, to which the officer responds with, ‘We’re not going to hurt him’.
Interim Officer-in-Charge James Sarkos has since said how proud he is of the officers involved in saving the man’s life, especially Officer Knuttel.
“I am extremely proud of the bravery and compassion shown by Officer Knuttel and the other officers for this man who was in severe emotional distress.
Their actions are indicative of the work routinely done by members of this police department,” Sarkos said. “For years, the Atlantic City Police Department has taken a proactive approach when it comes to the mental health of our residents and visitors by partnering with social service organizations and providing training to our officers.
After the incident, the man was transported to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Division, for an evaluation.