Man talked off Eighth Street bridge by Port Angeles police

The man, who had left a suicide note at Peninsula Behavioral Health, prompted officers to draw their weapons after mentioning suicide by cop.

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles police officer talked a man off the rail of the east Eighth Street bridge in Port Angeles Tuesday morning after he left a suicide note at Peninsula Behavioral Health.

Officer Jeffery Ordona said when he first saw the man, whose identity wasn’t immediately available, on the east end of the bridge, the man ran then hopped onto the railing.

Officers responded at about 9:50 a.m. after a call from Peninsula Behavioral Health. By 10:15 a.m. the scene was clear.

Ordona successfully talked the man off the bridge and the man was transported to Olympic Medical Center for an evaluation, he said.

“I talked to him indicating I would be able to help him and we’d figure it out,” Ordona said.

At that point the man stepped down from the bridge, but made statements about suicide by cop, asking police if they were ready, Ordona said.

The man reached into a bag and two other officers drew their weapons.

Chief Brian Smith said because it was a “high risk” encounter, the two officers needed to draw their weapons to provide protection.

Ordona took the man’s attention away from the two officers and continued talking to the man, he said.

“I told him we’re not going to go that route today,” Ordona said. “I kept redirecting his attention to myself and engaged him.”

Officers detained him without firing a shot and found that he had no weapon. Ordona said from where he was standing, there was no way to tell the man didn’t have a weapon.

It was the first time Ordona has negotiated with someone on either of the Eighth Street Bridges.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

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