Fairfax Co. police defuse tense situation with lifeguard in crisis

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been changed to reflect the location and name of the pool.

WASHINGTON — A pool in Alexandria, Virginia, was evacuated after a lifeguard began suffering from emotional distress Monday afternoon.

Fairfax County police arrived at the Riverside Park Swimming Pool, in the 5800 block of Cameron Run Terrace, after receiving calls about a lifeguard who may have been in emotional distress.

“They did observe a lifeguard actually pacing [and] blowing his whistle somewhat inappropriately,” said officer Monica Meeks with the Fairfax County Police Department.

Meeks said the 20-year-old lifeguard put on some of his lifeguard gear and began yelling in Polish. The pool was evacuated as officers tried to calm him.

The officers tried to speak with the man and resorted to their crisis intervention training, which aims to help officers safely defuse a situation involving someone in mental crisis.

Meeks said a police officer who speaks Polish happened to be on duty nearby and was called to the pool to help communicate with the lifeguard.

The lifeguard jumped in and out of the pool, according to police, as officers continued to talk to him. On his final jump, he sank in the deep end, and a fellow lifeguard jumped in and rescued him.

Meeks said paramedics began performing CPR on the distressed lifeguard, who was unresponsive.

“They were able to regain a pulse, [and] as soon as they did that, he became combative,” Meeks said.

The man was eventually subdued, Meeks said. He was taken into custody for his own protection and will not be charged.

He was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital in non-life-threatening condition, Meeks said.


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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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