The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

South Carolina police officer talks suicidal man off a bridge with football chat

(Michael Conroy/Associated Press)

Michael Blackmore, a master patrol officer with the Columbia Police Department in South Carolina, had to find some sort of connection with a suicidal man who was threatening to jump off a bridge early Saturday morning, something that would remind him that there were things worth living for. And that something was football.

Blackmore got the man off that bridge by first getting him to establish his rooting interests — in this case, the University of South Carolina and the Washington Redskins — and then reminding him that both those teams have plenty of games left.

It all was captured by cameras worn by the responders on the scene.

The State in Columbia has the story:

“I just wanted to get his mind off of what was bothering him,” Blackmore told The State in an interview Thursday.
He found out the man was a fan of the Washington Redskins and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
“You’re just having a bad night tonight,” Blackmore told him. “But tomorrow night, when you’re sitting around and you’re watching the Gamecocks — or on Sunday when you’re watching the Redskins play or whatever — you’ll look back (like), ‘Man, what was I thinking Friday night?’ You’re just having a bad night.”
Finally, Blackmore was able to grab the man’s wrist with both hands, and his two fellow officers — Charles Browder and Jessica Nolan — helped lift the man back over the railing. Blackmore reassured the man he wasn’t in trouble and wasn’t going to jail.

This actually was the second time in a month that Blackmore talked down a suicidal person with a football chat. According to the State, in August he persuaded someone not to jump from a parking garage.

“It was pretty much the same exact thing,” Blackmore said. “I ended up talking to the guy about football. He told me he was a Notre Dame fan.”