Police capture man on bridge in Prospect Park

V. Paul

He was a farmer from out of town, taking a walk down the heavily jogged East River Parkway while his daughter, hospitalized at nearby Shriner’s Hospital, recovered from hip surgery.
Crossing under an unused railway bridge south of Franklin Avenue, Roy Miller, from Viroqua, Wisc., heard a man call at him from above. He looked up and saw a man, pointing what Miller thought was a gun, who yelled, “Are you a cop?”
“I never had a gun pointed at me like that,” Miller said. “It gives me a funny feeling because I’m not from the city.”
At 4:20 p.m., Minneapolis police captured an unidentified suspect, thought to be armed, who had climbed up onto the railroad bridge in Prospect Park. A heavily armored task-force unit — comprised of two officers with shields, three additional officers and a negotiator — herded the man west along the bridge where additional officers were waiting and eventually persuaded the suspect to surrender.
No one was injured during the incident. The man was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he will be held for two days for psychiatric evaluation, said Minneapolis Police Lt. Chris Hildreth, the commanding officer on the scene.
It is not known why the suspect was on the bridge or whether he was actually armed. When he was apprehended, police officers did not find a weapon, although the suspect was seen throwing things off the bridge into the Mississippi River below.
Pre-med sophomore Andy Kummer, College of Liberal Arts junior Tara Koenig and another jogger were about to cross the bridge when police first arrived on the scene and directed them away. They told officers the suspect tossed something into the river, Kummer said.
Minneapolis police responded to the scene at 3 p.m. with a special police unit at one end of the bridge. Law enforcement officials stationed a canine unit at the other end in case the suspect tried to flee.
The suspect walked back and forth a short distance on the bridge, smoking a pipe and drinking alcohol. While police officers and gawkers got into better positions to see him, the suspect would periodically stand up on the bridge’s edge and outstretch his arms.
“We’ve got boats down below in case he goes in the water,” said Sgt. Kate Palmborg, an officer on the scene. “We didn’t know if he was a jumper.”
Police officers cordoned off both ends of the bridge from pedestrians, directing traffic quickly through the area. Instead, dozens of joggers and drivers pulled to the side to watch the event unfold.
“It’s interesting,” said Lindsay Bertie, a speech communications senior who lives less than a block away.”I don’t want to walk away; I don’t want to miss anything.”

V. Paul Virtucio welcomes comments at [email protected]