'It ended with a handshake and a hug': Ocala officers talk suicidal man down from overpass

Ocala Police officers talk down a suicidal man from an I-75 overpass Tuesday. Courtesy: Ocala Police.

Ocala Police say their officers persuaded a suicidal man to climb down from an I-75 overpass Tuesday.

Here's what happened, according to a statement released by the police department:

Det. Richard Tuck heard a call on the radio at 4:47 p.m. about a suicidal man hanging on the exterior fence of SW 43rd Street Road overpass above I-75. He notified Det. Joshua Fried, who is a trained hostage negotiator. They arrived at the scene where Officers Grady and Hilton were talking to the man. The man believed he had drug charges pending against him and that people had been following him for days.

Officers were not able to confirm any pending charges. They talked to him and were able to get him to climb to the top of the fence when he expressed specific needs. Fried immediately made arrangements by phone and the man climbed all the way down.

“It ended with a handshake and a hug,” Fried said in a statement. “As promised.”

The man has been Baker Acted so he may receive an evaluation and treatment if needed.

The police department said it's proud of Fried for saving the man's lives and thanked its officers for blocking roads and diverting traffic.

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