Montgomery Co. police use crisis intervention techniques to rescue young man

Montgomery County, Maryland, police officers intervened to prevent a young man from jumping off the Union Arch Bridge Monday night.

An 18-year-old man was reported missing from a Bethesda group home around 9 p.m. Staff at the group home was actively searching for the man when police arrived to aid in the search.

The man was found at Union Arch Bridge on MacArthur Boulevard. Police said he had climbed over the safety fence and was getting ready to jump into traffic below.

The fence separated the responding officers from the young man, who was poised on a two-foot-wide ledge and clutching the fence, according to Montgomery County police Cmdr. Sean Gagen.

Two responding officers, Marcella West and Samuel Yun, used crisis intervention training to get close enough to grab the man and pull him to safety.

First, West was able to grab the troubled teen and prevent him from jumping while Yun climbed over the safety fence and secured the teen from the other side.

While Yun — positioned on the narrow ledge, holding the man in place — West was able to handcuff him to the fence.

“[To make] sure he wasn’t able to take either himself or one of our officers if he tried to jump over the bridge,” Gagen said.

The situation was resolved when firefighters arrived, cut and removed the fence and helped get everyone off the bridge safely. The young man was then transported to the hospital.

“This incident would have ended tragically if not for the quick and courageous actions of the police officers and the staff who put themselves at great risk to save this young man’s life,” Gagen said.

Yun was injured during the rescue, but is expected to be OK after being checked out by medics. He experienced pain in his arms due to “the shear force that he had to exert to hold himself and the young man to the ledge as they were hanging off the bridge.”

“I’m very grateful that the young man is getting the help he needs, and I couldn’t be more proud of the officers’ actions,” Gagen said


Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up