WATERVILLE, Maine — A 30-year-old Massachusetts man was taken into protective custody after he threatened to jump from the roof of a Colby College building late Tuesday, police said.
The man was coaxed from the roof of the Pugh Student Center after more than two hours of negotiations, Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said.
Campus authorities first saw him behaving oddly around 5 p.m. Tuesday near the residence halls, Massey said.
“They were not able to locate him initially but the security was given a description,” Massey said Thursday.
The man left the campus in a vehicle but returned around 8 p.m. Massey said campus police saw him on foot, but he slipped through their fingers.
“When they tried to apprehend him he took off running and they lost him,” Massey said.
Colby police contacted Waterville police, and when the two sides were gathering information, officers were approached and told someone was on the roof of the three-story Pugh Student Center.
It turned out to be the Massachusetts man, and his bizarre behavior continued when he was on the roof of the building, making comments that Massey said made no sense.
“He was making comments about Israeli agents, he quoted some Bible verses, he said there was going to be a personal holocaust,” Massey said. “He was threatening to jump off.”
Waterville police Sgt. Alden Weigelt headed to the rooftop to negotiate with the man, and those proceedings lasted roughly an hour before the man “shut down, so he wouldn’t speak to Sgt. Weigelt anymore,” Massey said.
The man’s threats to jump escalated after negotiations broke down, as he went to the roof’s edge and referred to himself as Jay, according to Massey.
Waterville police Officer Tristan Russell was able to gain the man’s trust, however, referring to him as Jay during negotiations.
“He talked to him for quite a long time,” Massey said.
Russell eventually persuaded the man to come to a third-story window where Weigelt was waiting, and he was safely taken into protective custody.
A throng of Colby students had gathered near the Pugh center to watch the event unfold, but cooperatively dispersed when directed to by police, according to Massey.
The man was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center for evaluation. He told police he is a former Colby student, but a check with campus officials did not confirm that, Massey said.
“We don’t know why he came up from Massachusetts,” the chief said.
The man will not face any charges in relation to the incident, according to Massey. The Bangor Daily News is not naming him because he was not charged with a crime.
“He didn’t do anything criminally, didn’t threaten anybody, break anything,” Massey said. “Once we had him in custody, he was cooperative.”