Warsaw Police Officer Charles Bowles talked a 34-year-old Callao resident out of jumping from the Route 360 water tower in town yesterday evening.
Bowles said that a call for an individual threatening to commit suicide from the tower came in at 7:05 p.m. at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Bowles was on scene at approximately 7:08 p.m.
“I responded up there, I was the first arriving unit and as I approached the tower, I saw an individual on the tower who had actually one leg over the railing and appeared to attempt to get over the railing.” Bowles said. “I established conversation with him, tried to talk to him.”
Through talking, Bowles was able to get the man to step back over the rail and onto the tower’s catwalk.
During the time in which he was conversing with the individual, Bowles had called for the fire department and the rescue squad to respond but to stage in case there was need for a rescue operation.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office also responded and assisted in coordinating responding resources.
Bowles asked for them to stay back because he felt that “having those extra units showing up would have possibly agitated him further.”
After about 20 minutes of communicating back and forth with the man- Bowles was at the base of the tower with the man on the catwalk at the top- Bowles was able to convince him to descend.
The man was taken into emergency custody without incident and was then turned over to mental health professionals for evaluation and treatment.
Bowles said that the man had reached the tower on foot.
“He had ended up in Warsaw—not quite sure what initially got him there, but he ended up finding the tower and scaled it,” Bowles said.
Bowles thanked the following agencies for assisting with the call: the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond County Volunteer Fire Department and the Richmond County Department of Emergency Services.
Bowles also mentioned that he recently went through a Crisis Intervention Team training put on by the Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Community Services Board. The training focuses on assisting individuals in mental health emergencies.
“I definitely feel that that helped in this situation,” Bowles said, adding: “It was definitely a scary event … I was really, really concerned. I knew that it was a very delicate situation and that it was something that could have gone in very different directions.
“I’m very relieved, for him and the family,” Bowles said.