Which story is better?
I was running on a good streak for eight years, every job a success. Babies were returned safe. People didn’t kill themselves, and bad guys put down their guns. Then I had a bad one, a wall street broker who was skimming money. When federal marshals came to arrest him at his posh thirty second floor apartment on 77th Street, I was the commanding officer of the 25th detective squad.
We started talking to him through the door.
He said, “Go away or I’ll jump. “
One senior official said, “Well, let his wife talk to him.”
She got up to the door and said , “Albert, you’re acting like an ass. Why don’t you come out?” Which completely flipped him.
We started telephone negotiations. I was talking with him, looking at him from another apartment across his terrace. He was facing a deal for him to turn hmself in. He knew he was going to be arrested, do ten years, be disgraced and lose everything, including his million dollar job.. He had nothing to live for. But I had him a few times.
He was saying, “OK, I’m going to come out now. I’m going to feed the dog, then I’ll come out.”
A good and a bad sign – good that they’re going to come out; bad that they start performing rituals. They just want to get washed. They just want to feed the dog. They just want to tidy up the loose ends, which happens a lot in suicides.
Tactically it was very difficult to get him. He was on a highrise terrace. Our team prepared to throw one of these cargo nets from the thirty third floor over the balcony to cops on the thirty first floor who would try to pull it tight against his ledge.
We talked for about seven hours, up and down. Yes, he was on my side. No, he can’t come because there was nothing to live for.
He had decided to come out three times. Each time I walked over to the other building and knocked on the door.
He’d say, “Who is it?”
I’d say, “It’s me, Gary. Are you going to come out now?” I’d walk all the way back, pick up the phone. “Why aren’t you going to come out?”
“Well, I don’t want to come out. What am I going to do?”
Again I talked about life, about all the things he had to live for.
We decided to move on him. We opened door slowly. He was in the living room. He ran out to the ledge. The net was dropped, pulled tight. With superhuman strength he squeezed out around it and dove thirty two floors to his death.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. They had to drive me home that night. You start to shake because you’ve been tense for seven hours and you wonder what you could have said.
I was on one hostage case who had gun to his girlfriend’s head and never let it go. Every once in a while he would drop it. Each time I would get him to the point of putting down his gun and coming out, she would start saying something. She had to get the last word in. He’d get crazy and the gun was back again. She did this for hours.
I was in the apartment next door on the phone and he wouldn’t let me talk to her.
About fourteen hours later he said, “Why do you want to talk with her?”
I said, “I just want to make sure she’s alright.”
He said, “Alright.”
She finally got on the phone. I said to her, “This is the police.”
She said, “Yeah?”
I said, “What is wrong with you! Shut up!”
“But he said…”
“I don’t care!” I was screaming. We’re not suposed to lose control like that, but I was screaming at her. “I don’t care what he said! Agree with anything he says! The idea is to get you and your child out of that apartment!”
“But he said…”
When she said that to me, I gott more crazy, and started just screaming at her. Finally, she started crying. It shook me that I lost control there. I backed down.
I said, “I’m sorry. Let’s agree with anything he says, because we’re not going to let him do all this stuff. Just agree so we can get him out.”
He put the gun down and started talking about coming out, saying, “When I get her, I’m going to do this.”
And she’d start, “No you’re not!” And then the fight would start all over again.
I finally talked him into coming out. Coming out came be very dangerous.
I told him that day, “you have to listen to everything I tell you to do. You can’t deviate because there are so many cops out in this hall and they all have guns.”
When they come out they can often seem quite calm, but when they see weapons all over they freak.
She just kept with the mouth. By the time this guy came out 14 hours had passed since it started. When he did I was screaming final instructions. We were in a housing project. -I knew on the phone he was mad at me the whole last hour.
He came out backwards, like I instructed. They handcuffed him. When he turned around he gave me such a violent look. I touched his arm, told him everything was going to be alright. He pulled away. He was MAD!