0

Clayton police sergeant
saves man from suicide

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

When a sergeant pulled Rowy Bryant off the edge of the bridge, ending his attempt to jump, the 39-year-old man began to cry.

He would have jumped, he said, and fallen from the interstate overpass to the traffic on Interstate 675, but the Clayton County Police sergeant, 13-year veteran, Anthony Thuman, pulled him back at the last moment.

"He thanked me for saving him," Thuman said. "He said he didn't know what was in his head, to make him want to jump off a bridge. He just needed his medicine, because he was depressed."

Police said Bryant, an unemployed Oregon man, hitchhiked from the Northwest to Georgia to be with his fiancé, but when he got here, his fiancé didn't want him.

According to police, he apparently has a history of depression -- involving self-cutting and hospital stays -- and the rejection sent him into a downward spiral.

According to Bryant's statements to police, his fiancé "wanted nothing to do with him," and now he's homeless, and his dog, "Thumper," was run over by a tractor trailer.

At about 10:30 p.m., Friday, Bryant was reportedly trying to climb over the wall on the Forest Parkway bridge, over I-675 in Ellenwood, and apparently trying to end it all. Thuman, who is in charge of the police department's drug interdiction unit, was driving over the bridge, pulling someone over to give them a traffic ticket, when he saw Bryant.

"We didn't even get a call on him, nothing yet," Thuman said Monday. "I wasn't really sure what he was doing. I wasn't really sure what I had. Then, he told me if I got any closer, he was going to jump."

Thuman is not a trained negotiator and had never tried to talk anyone out of suicide before, but he said he didn't think about that, when he saw Bryant.

"I was just trying to talk to him, just trying to make conversation with him," Thuman said. "See if I can say, 'Hey, look, you're not alone out here.'"

Bryant wouldn't listen, though, and the whole time Thuman was trying to talk to him, "he repeatedly tried to picked up his left foot and tried to pull it over the wall," Thuman wrote in his police report. "He was obviously trying to prepare himself to jump into the northbound traffic."

Thuman rushed him, grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him down from the edge. The sergeant was surprised, he said, when the man started to cry, and he was surprised when the man thanked him.

"That doesn't really happen that often," he said.

Paramedics patched up a cut on Bryant's left arm and took him to Southern Regional Medical Center for treatment and evaluation.