Man who climbed Okla. TV tower comes down
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - August 16, 2011 (WPVI) -- A man with a history of mental illness who scaled an Oklahoma TV tower and resisted attempts to coax him down for nearly a week voluntarily surrendered to authorities Tuesday night, police said.
The 25-year-old man was taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration and was expected to be transferred to a mental health facility for observation, Tulsa police spokesman Leland Ashley said.
"He was very weak. We didn't force him to come down," Ashley said of the man, who climbed about 100 feet up the Clear Channel communications tower last Thursday.
During the six days he was on the tower, rescue crews offered him food and water, conditional on him agreeing to come down from his perch, but he rebuffed them.
A police negotiator in a lift attached to a ladder on a Fire Department truck talked to the man Tuesday and at times touched his hand in an effort to persuade him into the bucket, but he backed away each time.
Television video footage showed the man accepting a bottle of water from the negotiator at one point Tuesday. It was the first time he had taken water since Friday.
The six-day standoff, the longest in Tulsa's history, ended about 6:45 p.m., Ashley said. Television footage showed the man getting into the lift attached to the Fire Department truck.
Officers couldn't force the man down and it was logistically impossible to place a net under the tower in case he fell because the structure is so massive, Ashley said.
The man was wearing only a pair of shorts as temperatures reached into the upper 90s Tuesday afternoon. There was room on the metal lattice for him to take naps and he continued to occasionally shout at people and officers below.
A Clear Channel spokeswoman said the company's staff found the man in an unauthorized area Thursday morning, and that's when he ran from security guards and scaled the tower.
Dozens of onlookers flocked to the site, and mental health experts urged caution and compassion from members of the public, who took the Internet to weigh in on the situation.
Ashley said he wasn't sure if the man would face charges.
"The only charge criminally he could face would be trespassing, and for us, that's only a citation or a ticket," Ashley said. "But we're under the belief that he's probably suffering from mental health issues."
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