Mar 10, 2008
Esme Murphy MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) It's the job of police to keep us safe and to protect us from criminals. But in many other cases, police are busy protecting people from themselves.
On Tuesday, March 4 at about 1:30 in the afternoon, Minneapolis police rushed to an upscale shopping center on the Nicollet Mall. A man was standing on a ledge, threatening to jump from the fourth floor of Gaviidae Common. If he was to step backwards, he would plunge four stories.
"He's extremely angry. He's already threatened us. He has told us upon our first engagement with him that if you come any closer to me I will take you to hell with me," said Minneapolis Police Officer James Stetson.
For three hours the officers tried to coax him down from the ledge.
"It was really stressful. You felt if you didn't talk this guy back over the ledge another human being is going to die in front of you," said Officer Jason Reimer.
The man said he was desperate because he was being accused of sexually abusing two teenagers.
As officers tried to keep him from jumping, they had no way of knowing if what the man was saying was true. But, in fact, he had been formally accused that morning.
Earlier that day a 13-year-old girl told police that Karl Hunter, her mother's boyfriend, had repeatedly touched her. Her 14-year-old sister said the same thing. Karl Hunter was the man on the ledge.
"We didn't care whatever allegations he had, it didn't matter. Whatever he'd done in the past we just wanted him to come over," said Sgt. John Hoff.
Finally, Hunter, still standing on the ledge, looked away for a second. That's when officers grabbed him and hauled him over the railing; a railing that held up under the weight of about 1,600 pounds of police officers.
"Once we all grabbed him and people were struggling and then we hit the floor, I was just happy that we landed on the floor, and that we were on this floor, not the bottom floor," said Hoff.
Karl Hunter is now in the Hennepin County Jail and faces two felony charges for criminal sexual conduct.
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