Maryland Lt. Gov. Samuel W. Bogley took a call in his Annapolis office yesterday from a Laurel man who threatened suicide. Police said Bogley held the caller on the line for almost an hour until they could take the man into custody.
Bogley "did a heck of a job," said Cpl. Burt Simon, a Laurel city police spokesman.
According to police, the caller, who spoke first to the lieutenant governor's secretary, and then to Bogley himself, said he was "dissatisfied with the current state of society and government," claimed to have a gun, and threatened to kill himself.
In addition, police said, the caller, whom they did not identify, "stated any attempt to stop him would be met with gunfire and he would kill any persons at his door who attempted to stop him."
While Bogley "negotiated with the caller," police said, they positioned an "emergency response," or SWAT team at the apartment house from which the call came.
They said they sent a plainclothes officer to pose as a representative of Bogley's office while Bogley persuaded the caller to meet the officer in a parking area nearby.
When the man emerged unarmed about 7 p.m. he was taken into custody without incident, police said. They said no charges were filed but that they would ask that the man be ordered to undergo a mental evaluation.
In an interview last night, Bogley, a Prince George's County resident and former county council member, said he was not sure how the caller got his statehouse number. But, Bogley said, he was "grateful he did."
Bogley said the caller apparently had been driven to desperation by health and financial crises, and was seeking government help.
The problem, Bogley added, was that there were few means of immediate relief available over the weekend, and even then, the man's income, while meager, may be just above the aid eligibility threshhold.
"I think what he needed tonight was just to be able to talk to somebody who was going to try to help..." Bogley said.
"I feel bad" that the man was taken into custody, Bogley said. "I just hope he's not mad at me... feeling I misled him."
Bogley said he intended to see what state aid could be provided to the man. "I'm not going to abandon him."