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Port Authority, other police keep Brooklyn man from committing suicide

Port Authority police and other law enforcement agencies twice on Tuesday prevented a patient released from a Glen Cove mental health facility from suicide attempts.

The patient, a Brooklyn man, 44, first threatened to jump off the George Washington Bridge but then changed his mind and told authorities he was going to overdose on pills as a passenger on a Long Island Rail Road train, according to Joseph Pentangelo, public information officer for the Port Authority police.

The man, who has a history of self-destructive and suicidal behavior, was taken into custody, "perceived as a threat to himself," by Port Authority police Tuesday and taken to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital for psychological and medical evaluation, Pentangelo said.

The ordeal began Sunday, with the man's arrest in Williamsburg by the NYPD on charges of drug possession and intent to sell, according to a news release.

During his arrest, police said the man attempted suicide, so he was admitted to Mellilo Center for Mental Health in Glen Cove.

When he was released from the center early Tuesday, he threatened to jump off the bridge, Pentangelo said.

Staff at the mental health facility contacted Glen Cove police; Port Authority police were notified and began to track him through his cellphone.

Glen Cove police, Port Authority police and finally Metropolitan Transportation Authority police received photographs of the man, taken by the NYPD during his Sunday night arrest.

The photos first were distributed to Port Authority police at the bridge, and police were assigned to key entry points to the bridge.

They also used global positioning technology to find the man through his cellphone, authorities said.

When they contacted him, Port Authority police said the man was at Penn Station; he had changed his mind and was no longer going to jump off the bridge but was going to commit suicide by overdosing on an LIRR train.

MTA police were then notified and given the man's photograph.

He was apprehended by Port Authority police outside Penn Station, at Seventh Avenue and 33rd Street, the news release said.

Captain Ron Shindel, commanding officer of the Port Authority Police Command at the George Washington Bridge, called the procedure by authorities a "successful suicide intervention" and he credited police from Glen Cove, New York City and the Metropolitan Transit Authority for their "coordination and cooperation."

"There is every indication that these efforts prevented the subject from fatally overdosing," Shindel said.


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