Police talk man off highway ledge in Richmond

Police coax man off ledge near I-580 overpass in Richmond
Photo courtesy of the Richmond Police Department

Police officers successfully talked a man suffering from a mental health crisis off a highway ledge in Richmond Friday night.

Richmond police officers Amela Nurko and Robert Wright responded to the scene on a report of a possible jumper and found a man sitting on the concrete wall near the entrance to westbound Interstate 580 at Bayview Avenue, police said.

“He was straddling the wall, seated, with his hands on the guard rail,” police said. “His right leg was dangling over the 40’ drop. He was highly agitated, ranting about his ex-wife, the government, and multiple conspiracy theories.”

Officer Nurko was the first to attempt to coax the man off the ledge, but he remained agitated. Then Richmond police Sgt. Elizabeth Bashan arrived and took charge of the scene, helping to establish a perimeter preventing traffic on Bayview Avenue. The California Highway Patrol stopped all westbound I-580 traffic.

Officer Nurko tried to develop a rapport with the man as he ranted. While there were no RPD Crisis Negotiation Team officers available at the time, El Cerrito police Officer Stephanie Chan arrived to take over official negotiations. Officer Chan “kneeled close to him, to seem less intimidating, and proceeded to get him to relax further,” police said.

Soon, Richmond police Officer Ben Therriault, also a trained crisis negotiator, responded to the scene to assist Chan in calming the man down, police said.

“Eventually, she and Officer Therriault convinced him to come off the wall,” police said. “After he was at the median on Bayview, he was detained for mental evaluation.”

The Contra Costa County Mental Health Evaluation Team was notified and the man was transported to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center.

“In the beginning of the incident, it was very unclear which end result would reveal itself,” police said. “The supervisors and officers exhibited excellent teamwork, crisis intervention, patience, and service to the community.”


  1. Well done RPD! People are going through very desperate and confusing times right now. I pray this man gets the help he needs now.

  2. Actually the Richmond Fire Department located the person because of bystanders and Richmond Firefighters were the ones to stop the man from jumping in the beginning of the incident. Once the person was somewhat calm the Fire Department then let the RPD take over.

  3. Well done to YOU Local 188!! It takes a collaborative effort and doesn’t matter Who does it..the main goal should be to SAVE THE LIFE.

  4. Your article is very useful, the content is great, I have read a lot of articles, but for your article, it left me a deep impression, thank you for sharing.

  5. It’s a change in the response to this crisis situation. Let’s hope that this becomes protocol and other lives can be saved. Perhaps the Fire Dept. can respond first.


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