Man climbs up KTLA tower, shuts down Sunset Boulevard for hours

Thursday, May 12, 2016
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A man perched on the KTLA tower in Hollywood for three hours before being talked down by a woman from his church, pictured at right in yellow.

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A man who climbed to the top of the KTLA tower in Hollywood and perched there for hours is now safely on the ground after a woman from his church helped convince him to climb down.

The man had climbed up the 162-foot TV station tower at Sunset Boulevard and Bronson Avenue around 4:45 p.m.

Police shut down Sunset to traffic and set up three air cushions on the ground in case he fell or jumped.

Los Angeles Police Department officials said they were able to provide the man with water and a cellphone as the crisis negotiation team tried to convince him to come down.

"He appeared to be very emotional," said LAPD Det. Meghan Aguilar. "He was struggling with different issues in his life and he was at a point where he needed some intervention of some point."

At one point the man, believed to be in his mid-50s, was seen smoking a cigarette and talking on a cellphone. He was wearing a green Boston Celtics sweatshirt. When police and fire officials put up ladders to try to talk to him, he climbed higher above a perch already estimated at 80 feet.

Eventually a woman from the man's church came to the scene and spoke to him, helping convince him to climb down on his own by about 7:45 p.m. She promised him everything would be OK and offered him a hug.

Anita McMillan Murphy, who lives across the street, said she recognized the man from his picture so she decided to help. She had seen him at her church, Hollywood First Baptist, where she gives out food on Fridays.

"I told him, this is not worth it, please come down! I said, 'I promise to give you a hug,' so he came down!" she said.

He was handcuffed at the scene, but police said KTLA decided not to press charges.

Officials said the man was brought to the LAPD's Hollywood station to receive a mental-health evaluation.

Sunset Boulevard was later reopened to traffic.