Two officers of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Police Division came to the rescue of a 44-year-old man who was threatening to kill himself by jumping off the upper departure level roadway outside the Tom Bradley International Terminal early Friday, April 8th, police said.
Airport police received a call at about 8:15 a.m. from a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security screener who had seen a man standing on the edge of a flower planter along the upper north entryway to the terminal, about 30 feet above the ground, said LAX spokeswoman Gaby Pacheco.
Officers Michael Woodard and Sean Maldonado of the Airport Police Division were near the scene and quickly responded, along with several patrol officers and mobile units, Pacheco said.
The man appeared to be distraught and Woodard began to talk to him and asked him to come down. Maldonado saw the man start to lose his balance with his feet over the edge of the planter, and the officer grabbed the man from behind to pull him to safety, Pacheco said.
Police said the incident was over at 8:23 a.m.
“It was very dramatic, but it was very straightforward,” Capt. Greg Staar of the Airport Police Divison said about the rescue. “When an opportunity arose to safely rescue the man they did.
“It happened very fast, as these situations often do.”
The man, who was from North Hampton, Massachusetts, was not arrested, but was taken to County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance for a 72-hour evaluation, Pacheco said.
The TSA screener reported to police that he told the man to be careful because he could fall off the edge, but the man reportedly responded, “That’s what I’m trying to do,” Staar said.
When Maldonado and Woodard arrived at the scene, they relied on their police training and put together a tactical plan to rescue the man from a life-threatening situation, Staar said.
“We’re really glad that our guys were able to respond and save this man’s life,” he said.
“We feel it exemplifies what this department is all about, which is to serve the traveling public.”