Hostage negotiator speaks out after incident on I-43 overpass

MILWAUKEE — I-43 was shut down in both directions Thursday afternoon, May 10th after officials say a 23-year-old man was threatening to take his own life, and was clinging to an overpass, threatening to jump. FOX6 News spoke exclusively with the negotiator who was on the scene, attempting to talk the man off the ledge.

The negotiator, Sgt. James Bryce,  told FOX6 News he and the man talked about a lot of things Thursday afternoon, including the man’s mother, who lives near the Center Street bridge, and the man’s child. The sergeant says he wanted to learn as much as he could about the man, in order to convince him not to jump.

“One of the things I wanted to do was just keep talking to him. I tried to figure out why he was there, what brought him to that point, where he decided all that’s going wrong in my life, I gotta end it now,” Sgt. Bryce said.

This incident was Sgt. Bryce’s first time using the hostage negotiation training he received from the FBI. During the hour the man stood on the bridge, occasionally smoking cigarettes, Sgt. Bryce spoke with him about his family. “To make him picture his children, so that he would think about his children and his children’s future, instead of jumping off a bridge,” Sgt. Bryce said.

The man told Sgt. Bryce he planned to run from the scene and even fight officers if necessary, yet the whole situation ended peacefully. The man climbed down from the bridge out onto an embankment. He was tasered and taken to the hospital for evaluation.

“Some of the things that was popping through my head while I was talking to him during all that time was all the bad things that could have happened. It was kinda relieving that one of those bad things didn’t happen,” Sgt. Bryce said.

Sgt. Bryce said the man won’t be charged, and will likely receive help for mental issues.

Sgt. Bryce has been with the Milwaukee Police Department for 17 years.

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