SAUGERTIES — A Saugerties woman loaded her rifle, ready to end her life late Friday night, but a police negotiator who knew that the woman loved cats convinced her that suicide wasn't the answer.
Town police surrounded the home on Parr Shale Road after the woman, who has a history of mental illness, called the police station and threatened to kill herself. The woman had just been in an argument over the telephone with her daughter, who wanted to move her to an assisted-living home.
The standoff, which started at 11:30 p.m. Friday and lasted more than 2 hours, was fraught with sensitive moments. At one point, a Saugerties police dispatcher convinced the woman to put back the safety on her loaded .22-caliber rifle, but shortly after the woman became angered and hung up the phone.
Detective Bob Haberski, who knew the woman from previous calls, got her back on the phone.
"I tried to have her focus on the fact that there's a lot to live for," Haberski said.
What's more, Haberski and the woman began chatting about one of her favorite topics: cats.
"I knew she loved cats, so I focused on that to redirect her emotion," Haberski said.
After she calmed down, the woman agreed to meet Haberski face to face. Police watched through a window as the woman moved her rifle from the kitchen counter to a back bedroom.
She was taken without incident to Benedictine Hospital in Kingston for a psychiatric evaluation.The identity of the woman is being withheld because of the nature of incident.
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