Police talk down potential jumper

Takes three hours to coax man back inside Galaxy Towers

It took several hours, but heroic emergency responders from more than four agencies were able to coax a distraught 44-year-old man back inside from the roof of the tall Galaxy Towers condo buildings in Guttenberg last Thursday.

Police from Guttenberg, North Bergen, and the Port Authority, as well as the Hudson County Sheriff’s Department and Weehawken EMS, responded.

“He was hanging on for dear life,” Guttenberg Lt. Juan Barrera said in an interview. “A call came in at 10:47 a.m. about a man attempting to commit suicide. Our Police Department responded and interacted with the man for 25 minutes. That’s when we reached out for assistance with a crisis negotiator from the Hudson County Sheriff’s department and North Bergen Police Department.”

Within the last six years, three people have committed suicide by jumping off the Galaxy Towers (which includes three buildings). There were incidents in 2010, 2012, and 2014. The towers stand 415 feet high near the Hudson River, with 1,075 condos.

The luxury complex sits on Blvd. East. Rents run several thousand dollars per month.

“People sometimes run into problems and believe they should deal with it in that way, and we have to help.” — Lt. Juan Barrera

“It’s one of tallest buildings on the Boulevard, and it happens to draw attention,” Barrera said. “It’s a great building with wonderful staff and residents, but people sometimes run into problems and believe they should deal with it in that way, and we have to help. It was a great job by the Guttenberg police.”

North Bergen Police Lt. Arthur Del said, “This is not a crime. We got him medical attention, but first we have to get them to avoid committing [suicide], and then we take them to the hospital.”

Barrera said, “For someone that has emotional issues … we’re concerned about getting them help. It’s just someone having a bad time in life, and it may be the wrong way to deal with it, but if they choose it, then we have to be there to help.”

Police also had to deal with onlookers on the ground, some with video cameras recording it.

“We have to keep the people outside of the immediate perimeter if he were to fall,” Del said. “We helped Guttenberg police close all adjacent streets.”

Barrera said, “We called the Fire Department and Port Authority for inflatable devices that would take some of the impact if he were to fall.”

The man, a resident of the towers, was taken to Jersey City Medical Center for evaluation.

“We all stayed with him for three hours, and thanks to the cooperation of the Sheriff’s Department, the Port Authority police, Weehawken EMS, and the Jersey City medics, we talked him down and saved a life,” Barrera said. “It was pretty intense.”

If you are feeling suicidal, call 911 or the NJ Hopeline at 1-855-654-6735.


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