Yesterday, midtown was held captive when a man ascended to the top of Rockefeller Center and threatened to jump. Thankfully, after a tense hour, police were able to talk down 23-year-old tourist Jorge (George) Ruiz. "[He] was very apologetic. He stated over and over again that he was sorry for taking everyone's time, and we reassured him at that point that we were there to help him," said Detective Shawn Soler, one of the officers who was talking to him at the time.
Ruiz, who was visiting the city from Las Vegas, had covered his face in an American-flag bandanna, and let his legs dangle off the observation deck on the 70th floor of Rockefeller Plaza, occasionally tossing objects onto the street below. "It was like he was playing a game. He was standing up and sitting down," said witness Priscila Garcia. Detective James Coll, who also was there trying to calm Ruiz down, noted, "We weren't really sure if he was going to push himself off or if he was going to climb over...He didn't seem scared, he seemed pretty committed."
After he was brought down, Ruiz told police that he suffers from schizophrenia, and that he was distraught that a book he wrote wouldn't be published. The standoff brought work to a standstill as well—"The office was incapable of working once we caught wind of this guy. Every time he tried to stand, everyone in the office freaked out, because we thought he was going to jump," said NBC producer Erich Sturm, referring to a live feed of the scene being broadcast in the company's newsroom. Ruiz was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.