FAIRFIELD COUNTY — While many enjoyed barbecue, cold beverages and anticipated the night’s fireworks shows on the Fourth of July, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office deputies saved a life.
Shortly before noon, FCSO received reports of a suicidal man on Taylor’s Creek Bridge near Lake Wateree. Deputies responded quickly and were ultimately able to stop the man from jumping off the bridge.
“I’m extremely happy with the outcome of this potentially dangerous situation,” Fairfield County Sheriff Will Montgomery said. “This is a prime example of how law enforcement officers routinely go above and beyond.”
Montgomery said a quick response time, patience and dedication resulted in the positive outcome.
“Here was a person who was in obvious need of help and our deputies risked their own safety to help him,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said while these types of situations are rare in Fairfield County, they are unpredictable.
“You never know what we’re going into,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery estimated the potential fall would have been a 15-foot drop into water, and said he does not believe the man on the edge of the bridge could swim.
The entirety of the encounter was captured on Lt. Cornelius Robinson’s body camera.
“All of our officers wear body-worn-cameras and our vehicles are equipped with video cameras, as well,” Montgomery said. “This entire dramatic event was captured on video and makes one appreciate the dangerous job that we, in law enforcement, have.”
In the video Robinson can be heard speaking calmly to the potentially suicidal man, who is perched on the ledge of the bridge. The man signifies for Robinson to stop with a raised palm and warns that he will jump if Robinson comes closer.
“I just want to talk to you,” Robinson said.
Robinson begins to inch closer, he extends his hand, which holds an orange life jacket.
“I just want to give this to you, in case you fall,” Robinson said.
The man cautions Robinson again, but Robinson audibly remains calm and persistent offering the life jacket and asking the man if he could use the life jacket. The man acquiesces.
“Let’s put this on,” Robinson said.
As the man slides his arm through the life jacket, Robinson grabbed him and other deputies subdued and handcuffed the man for safety.
The man was transported by emergency medical services to Richland Memorial Hospital for an evaluation. No criminal charges were filed.
“I can’t express how pleased I am with the way that our deputies resolved this situation and commend them on their professionalism and ingenuity,” Montgomery said.