Man Jumps to Death Off Brooklyn Bridge

The helicopters hovering above Brooklyn Heights this morning signaled that something out of the ordinary was happening nearby. As many Brooklynites tweeted and news sources reported, traffic on the Manhattan bound side of the Brooklyn Bridge was halted due to a police action.

NY Post: The 19-year-old was threatening to jump from the Brooklyn-bound roadway around 7:20 a.m. when emergency workers responded to the call, said a spokesman for the FDNY.

All bridge traffic was shut down in both directions to pedestrians and cars, cops said.

The man jumped about 30 minutes later from the Brooklyn side of the bridge and landed in the rear of the River Cafe, police sources said.

A BHB reader adds his first hand account:

I was jogging this morning in Brooklyn Bridge Park and saw someone jump off the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. There were police boats, a helicopter and fire trucks everywhere and a team of first responders was trying to make its way up the cable to reach the person but they couldn’t get there in time. He was on the top of the suspension tower closest to Brooklyn.

After similar events earlier this year, we invited Brooklyn Heights resident Jason Hershberger, MD Chief of Psychiatry, Downstate Long Island College Hospital (LICH) to write a guest blog for BHB on depression and its warning signs. He wrote:

Suicide is the most frightening and dangerous symptom of depression. Eleven in 100,000 Americans die of suicide each year, making it the 10th leading cause of death in our country. For young people ages 15-24 suicide is the third leading cause of death. The major risk factor found in the majority of suicides is major depression followed by the combination of depression with alcoholism.

The Department of Psychiatry at Downstate Long Island College Hospital includes inpatient, outpatient and emergency psychiatric services. For physician referral please call (888) 270-SUNY(7869), or visit www.downstate.edu/LICH.

Image via Aimee Groth

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  • Bob Sacamano

    Well said Brooklyn Mom.

  • Heightsman

    Years ago, I was in an office tower where I worked.

    It was a sunny afternoon. Clear and pleasant. Another day at the office.

    There was a sudden stir over near the windows and a bunch of us went over to see what was up.

    Somebody had jumped off the parking garage next to the building.

    His body was right below us.

    The cops showed up a minute or two before and his body was half-covered in a blanket that was rapidly soaking up his blood.

    It was clear that he was dead.

    We all stood by the window and watched.

    It was silent. The gravity of the situation intruding on a mundane day at work.

    A fellow in the office, a colleague, a smart guy, a nice guy, walked by and made a flip comment that was intended to be humorous.

    But there was nothing funny about it. Zero.

    He was lost forever.

    To his family. To people who knew him and loved him.
    To people who cared for him and depended on him.

    Whatever demons tortured this poor fellow and influenced his decision to end his life on this day and in this way weren’t funny – they were sad in a profound and overwhelming way.

    I never found out who it was.

    But that moment never left me.

    And my opinion of my colleague – who I had never thought of as a cruel or malicious fellow – sank about fifty notches that day.

    In the abstract, it’s easy to kid and joke about jumping off a bridge.

    But ridiculing somebody with emotional problems severe enough to take that kind of dramatic step is a shallow and vulgar thing to do.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Well said Heightsman.

  • shamrock

    @ Heightsman, your story speaks volumes, certainly adds some concrete perspective to the reality of suicide. And when you speak of the “fellow in the office”, probably not so different than a few of the posters who post here sometimes.

  • Heightsman

    I am the real Heightsman……get your own name!

  • Heightsman

    Never!

  • eg

    Bob Sacamano: If you believe there’s nothing in this story to care about, why do you bother to keep making comments? Just sign out!

  • tsarina

    I read somewhere that poorer neighborhoods usually had more compassion for “jumpers” and in neighborhoods like wall street and midtown the police said people were more apt to yell jump. Each of us could interpret what that says about people.
    I see from reading these posts that some people are ignorant about depression and say alot of stupid things that only reflect badly on themselves.

  • pam

    Good point George!

  • pam

    saddest thread ever….it doesn’t have to be “illness” or “chemical imbalance” to cause someone to kill themselves. Why must these things always be call “illness” Look at the state of our society and economic dispair this country is in! Simple depression causes this as well. Every damn thing is called an illness today and I’m tired of us calling it illness. We don’t want to take responsibility for our actions. that’s what it is so we check it off as an illness. Sad just the same. :o(

  • http://tamernick@clacpa.com Terri Amernick

    Six weeks ago the young son of a dear friend killed himself. The shame and pain of this kept his mother from confiding in her friends and family. She buried him alone without the support of her friends and family. When she was finally able to tell us of her tremendous loss, I grieved for him and just as much for her. My thoughts wandered from the memory of that adorable laughing 3 year old towhead to the tortured mind of the 26 year old. He wasn’t callous regarding life. He did want to die. He didn’t chose to die. He was sick. No amount of doctoring could relieve his pain.

    I was driving my daughter to school yesterday when we were detained by the closure of Brooklyn Bridge. When the policeman told us the bridge was closed because of a jumper my immediate words were “joke-like”. In no way was I laughing. The proximity of the jumper and the pain for my friend’s lost son resulted in my inappropriate comment. I don’t even remember what stupid thing I said. I just know that my 17 year old daughter was alarmed at my comment and called me to task for it.

    I am not writing to scold those who are otherwise untouched by this tremendous loss. If the death of a young man at his own hands doesn’t affect them why would my harsh words? I am writing this to grieve for this young man and his family and for those crippled with mental illness. I am writing this to apologize for the humor that I attempted to use as a protected shield to the emotions that we should each feel. If you haven’t felt the sharp touch of mental illness, count yourself lucky.

  • Jack Simmons

    Very sad story. My brother committed suicide 35 years ago and the pain is still there.

    Never on my worst day have I contemplated suicide. This in spite of severe depression (now well under control) and lots of issues gone awry in my life.

    Every day is a blessing, even bad days.

    Lots of people depend on you, even when you don’t know they are.

    Had I acted on something as this young man did, I would never had known my granddaughters or shared in their lives.

  • Gary

    Bob you are a major A-Hole

  • James

    Do you all feel better now?

  • Joe

    The neighbors I know by name in my building and even the nameless neighbors who I see daily on the streets of BH are all wonderful in their own way. They may smile, give a greeting, ask about my kids, hold the door etc. In short they are neighborly.

    However, I can’t say the same of my neighbors on the internet. Something about the anonymity of the internet seem to bring out the worst in people. I know individually you are all decent people though our politics, opinions and dog scooping habits may differ but somehow even in the event of a local tragedy, people continue to let the anonymity of the internet continue to be their shield from feeling & caring.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Sorry Bob I’m not going to oblige you. But I will downgrade you from imbecile to idiot.

  • Willowtowncop

    @ tsarina – perhaps it’s in line with your politics but I worked in the projects for years and the belief that poor people are more compassionate about jumpers than rich people absolutely is not true. I’ve seen two of them that were there overnight because no one could be bothered to call. The only compassion I ever saw for anything that went over the roof was a dog that some jerk threw over the side – it was the only time the people of the Red Hook houses ever saw anything. Most people – rich or poor – are more concerned with the fact their train is delayed than with the person who was killed by it.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Ahhhhh… The predictable cynicism of Willowtowncop. You really should think about retiring soon, the job is eating you up.

  • PromGal

     My heartfelt condolences to the young man’s family. And my sincere sympathies to Brooklyn Mom on the loss of her son in March. 
      I am shocked and outraged by some of the comments on this blog. The callous insensitivity and cruelty concerning the tragedy of  this young man’s death, and the lack of human feeling and compassion make me shudder to think that some of these people might be my neighbors.
      Please pray for their hearts to be softened, and that they never experience the pain of tragic loss that the families and friends of suicide victims go through.   
     

  • Brooklyn Mom

    PromGal – I’m praying with you!

  • Jkl

    @ Gerry: do you think you could have called 911 and reported an erratic person on the roadway? Guess u were once again too self absorbed with yourself and going swimming and how it would hinder your routine.

  • Knight

    @Brooklyn Mom: Knight misses Aaron, too.

  • Brooklyn Mom

    Thank you Knight…

  • Dawn

    The majority of these people are sympathetic & seem (or like to think) they care. Why is nobody doing anything?? Mentally ill kill themselves & others & America worries about gun control!!This is the 10th leading cause of death but where are the PSA’s? Where’t the education, outreach, or help?? It’s nice to be sympathetic but unless you do something about it nothing changes!

  • David on Middagh
  • Alilrebelchick

    Really, how very sensitive of you, Bob. If you don’t care, why bother to read the story. Perhaps someone could have helped this man and maybe he’d have helped someone else in turn. That’s why we try to help those in pain. We’re human and most of us have this thing called compassion. This man must have been in immense personal pain to make a decision to such a horrible thing. I for one do care and would not count myself as a human being with a soul if I didn’t.

  • KDM

    How is it selfish when you are trying to eliminate the problem, which is
    yourself? When you know that you are the problem, the reason for pain
    and can’t get out of it. The people around don’t notice or even give a
    damn. It is assumed that it’s easy to step out of the conditions,
    mentally, physically and emotionally created that causes constant misery. I understand the man and have
    made the similar decision. When you realize that you are the main
    problem that can not be fixed, this release is an escape for me and a
    relief to those that are around me. Why should people be worried about a
    worthless person such as myself or anyone else who feels that way? Most
    are waiting for suicidal people to die so they can move on and forget
    it even happened. the world is a disgusting and shitty place.