What started out as a lazy day off for an Evanston police officer ended with him wrestling a suicidal man off the top of a parking garage.
Det. Ken Carter said he had just finished a meal with his fiancée and her daughter in downtown Evanston at around 5 p.m. Sunday when they noticed a man standing on a top-story ledge of a parking garage at least 70 feet high. The man was yelling, pacing back and forth and peering over the edge in the pouring rain, Carter said in an interview with the Tribune Tuesday.
The detective called Evanston police’s dispatch center to report the man. When assisting officers arrived minutes later, Carter accompanied them to the roof of the garage, where the 22-year old man was yelling that he did not want to live, Carter said.
“He was very upset and very angry,” said Carter, a 12-year veteran of the Evanston police force.
“At one point, he threw down his cellphone and wallet and said he didn’t not want to be here anymore,” Carter said. “He said he wanted to fly and go to heaven, that he was tired of being here.”
Carter said that he devised a plan with other officers to sneak up behind the man as the other officers, keeping their distance, tried to talk him down.
“I had to act quickly because he said he was going to go,” Carter said. “He wanted to jump.”
Carter said he slowly crawled toward the man.
“I said a prayer, and once I got close enough, I grabbed him and held him and the assisting officers managed to get him off the ledge,” Carter said of the rescue.
“When I grabbed him he kind of lurched forward,” said Carter. “I held on for life. It took the assistance of my co-workers to get him off. It was a struggle. He was very upset. He did not want to come off the ledge.”
The would-be jumper was not injured but was taken to hospital for treatment, said officials.
“Our goal was to preserve his life and to get him to safety,” said Carter, who lives in Deerfield. “We love what we do. I knew once I came close to him and got a grasp on him, I knew my co-workers were going to be right there by my side and get him down. It