New York NY Feb 26 2017 A suicidal man armed with a BB gun threatened to shoot a Port Authority cop trying to stop him from leaping off the George Washington Bridge Friday — because he knew the heroic cops would go over the rail to save him, officials said.
Members of the Port Authority walkway patrol and the department’s Emergency Services Unit calmed and then grabbed ex-Marine Douglas Peck, 37, after he climbed over a railing. An NYPD Emergency Services Unit also assisted in the save.
“Shoot me!” Peck screamed at cops trying to save him, according to sources. “I know you will go over the rail to get me!”
Peck may have been referring to a Sunday story in the Daily News outlining the heroics of the pedestrian walkway patrol — nicknamed the “suicide squad,” which is credited with saving 230 would-be jumpers from killing themselves since 2014.
Port Authority Police Officer Robert Wallace was driving across the bridge at about 10 a.m. when he saw Peck standing on the pedestrian walkway for a long period of time. Police initially thought the New Jersey man was Oscar Hernandez, a Connecticut murder suspect who had run off with his 6-year-old daughter, sparking an Amber Alert.
“Something was off,” Wallace said hours after the save. “I swung back around, and as that was happening, this call came over that they are looking for somebody.”
“I come around, I put it over the air I’ve found someone that matches the script,” Wallace said. “As I jump over the rail to get onto the walkway area, he’s like, ‘Listen, don’t crowd me.’ ”
That’s when Peck — despondent that his ex-wife had moved to Florida with their daughter — pulled a black BB gun from his pocket and aimed it at Wallace.
“It happened very quickly, but just through the training I have received here, I took cover immediately,” Wallace said.
Superintendent Michael Fedorko said Peck’s weapon looked like a real gun.
“You would not have known it was a BB gun,” he said.
Cops convinced Peck to drop the gun and built a rapport with him as he smoked.
“He was trying for suicide by cop,” said one source with knowledge of the incident. “The officers used great restraint.”
Meanwhile Port Authority ESU Officer Javier Cerna climbed over the rail and sidled up alongside him.
ESU cops and members of the walkway patrol ultimately pulled him back over the railing.
“I believe that was his intention ... for us to shoot him,” Cerna said.
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Peck was taken to the Bergen Regional Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation. Charges against him were pending.
Traffic was halted on both sides of the Hudson River span for more than 45 minutes.
Peck is the first person to attempt suicide on the George Washington Bridge since Sunday’s News front page story on the “suicide squad” who saved 70 people last year without having special equipment such as harnesses to protect them. The harnesses cost about $40 online. He is the 13th person saved by Port Authority cops this year. Since January, two people have successfully jumped, officials said.
NY Daily News