ATLANTA – A suicidal man wanted in the death of his ex-girlfriend climbed an 18-story crane at a construction site and remained perched high above a bustling neighborhood Thursday as authorities desperately tried to talk him down.
The man got onto the crane about 5 p.m. Wednesday and was about 160 feet above the ground, telling police negotiators he was thinking of killing himself by jumping.
He spent most of Thursday sitting on a metal grate on the crane’s arm and tried to stand at one point, but his legs were shaking so badly he quickly sat down again. At another point, he appeared to be sleeping. He inched away from officers when they tried to get closer to him.
The drama unfolded in Atlanta’s trendy Buckhead neighborhood in clear view of lunch crowds. Authorities closed the busy intersection where the crane is located, disrupting traffic in the city.
The man was identified as Carl Edward Roland, 41, who was wanted by the Pinellas County, Fla., sheriff’s department in the slaying of his former girlfriend, said Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington. The body of Jennifer L. Gonzalez, 36, was found Tuesday in a pond behind the apartment complex where she lived.
Atlanta police spokesman Sgt. John Quigley was not sure how the man got onto the crane.
The fire department set up large air bags on the roof of the building being constructed below the crane. Police also called Roland’s younger sister, Towana, who lives in Atlanta, to the scene to help in the effort.