At 12:30 p.m. on Monday, police responded to a suicidal man standing on a ledge on the outside of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The upper level of the bridge was shut down as they tried to convince the man not to jump. And, after hours of talking and then startling rain and lightning, the man agreed to let police help him off the ledge at 4:35 p.m. And the story was pretty dramatic!
Emergency Service Unit police officers—Detectives Anthony Borowiec and Dennis Canale, Police Officer Ralph Stallone—arrived at the scene and found that the man spoke Chinese. With the help of a Triborough Bridge and Transit Authority police officer, Eddie Fung, they found out the man spoke Cantonese, so ESU asked for a police officer who could speak Cantonese.
Police Officer Yi Huang, from the 5th Precinct in Chinatown, arrived and, joining NYPD Hostage Negotiators Detectives Richard Lyman, Nicholas Arhakos and Michael Chiusano, spoke to talk to the man, who demanded that the police stay 10-15 away or else he would jump. Meanwhile, a high school church group from Michigan started a prayer circle for the man.
Detective Arhakos, Detective Chiusano, Detective Lyman, Police Officer Borowiec, Detective Canale, Police Officer Stallone, Police Officer Huang (NYPD)
According to the NYPD, "the man was despondent over arguments he had been having with his 18-year-old daughter, and also was upset over finances. Officer Huang learned further that the aided came from Taishan village in Guangdong province in southern China, where the officer’s family happened to be from and from where Officer Huang immigrated at age four to New York City’s Chinatown, where he now is assigned to patrol. Officer Huang spoke of his own family’s experience and asked him to think about seeing his daughter at her wedding, or meeting his grandchildren."
The conversation, along with rain and lightning starting, apparently persuaded the man to let Borowiec come closer, over the bridge's railing, and help him off. The man was taken to Staten Island University Hospital in good condition.