CANTON, Ohio - Police body camera video shows how a Canton police officer helped stop a suicidal man from jumping off a highway overpass.
Officer Gibran Baskerville is a crisis intervention officer and 21-year veteran of the department whose training kicked in when he was called to the Cleveland Avenue NW overpass over U.S. 62 on July 19.
Baskerville’s body camera was recording as he responded to help a 26-year-old Canton man who was threatening to jump from a 30-foot-high ledge onto the highway below.
“There's nothing in the world that bad. Whatever it is. It can be got through,” Baskerville can be heard telling the man on the body camera video. “I’ve been to hell and back myself, my friend, but there is somebody here for you. I'll be here for you.”
Baskerville spent more than twenty minutes working to calm the man and talk him off the ledge.
“I just need you to relax and think about it. Take my hand. I’m here brother, take my hand, and I got you,” he said. “Don’t jump."
“He kind of looked at me and the tears were coming down, and his stare was just blank, and I said, ‘He's for real.’ In my head I'm going, ‘He's for real,” Baskerville said. “The most important thing to me right at that point in time was saving his life. Regardless of what it cost us.”
When the man started running, officers were eventually able to restrain him. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment and will not face charges, Baskerville said.
Officer Baskerville said it took a while for the gravity of the situation to sink in. He said he has replayed it countless times in his mind.
“I'm not a hero. Just a man who's doing his job and hoping that my kids are proud of me some day,” he said. “That's what we do. We run to the threat, we run to the danger, we don't run away from it.”
There are resources available to help those who are struggling. The phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Click here for more information.