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Officer Who Tried To Prevent Jumper's Death Hailed As Hero

Reported by: Send eMail Katelyn Sykes, Kaylin Searles
Also Contributing: Jeff Morris
Reported: Jun. 27, 2014 8:38 AM EDT
Updated: Jun. 27, 2014 12:40 PM EDT
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Charleston Bridge Death
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Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

A Charleston police officer is being called a hero by his comrades after he tried to intervene and save a man from jumping off an interstate bridge to his death.

Charleston police said calls were coming into 911 just before 8 a.m. Friday about a vehicle on the side of Interstate 77 near the Leon Sullivan exit and a driver acting suspicious.

"The officer arrived and spoke with the gentleman and agreed that something appeared to be wrong," Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper said. "The officer asked him if he was considering maybe doing something, like jumping, and he told him no."

Police said seconds later that all changed and the man Officer Matt Hill was just speaking to ran to the side of the bridge and jumped.

Charleston Police Lt. Shawn Williams said once the officer realized what was happening "he tried to grab him, he tried to hold on to him over the side (of the bridge). The officer's got some injuries to his arm."

Cooper said Hill did everything within his power to prevent the tragedy.

"He was trying to save the man, did the best that he could, but it was just too much weight to keep him from going over the edge of the bridge," Cooper said.

The man, who still hasn't been identified, fell several feet and landed underneath the interstate near Smith Street. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Charleston police are still trying to figure out what led the man to jump, but they are also hailing their comrade as a hero for stepping in and putting his own life at risk to try to save the the life of another.

"It says that he is well trained and he has the heart of a police officer and he wants to serve and protect and salvage lives," Cooper said. "He didn't hesitate and again, we salute him for his efforts and our hearts go out to the family of the victim."

Cooper said Hill is doing OK and was treated for his injuries.




A police officer tried to save a man as he jumped off a bridge at the Leon Sullivan exit in Charleston, but the officer was only able to grab a portion of the man’s clothing and he fell to his death.

Charleston Police Lt. Shawn Williams said an officer spotted a disabled vehicle on Interstate 77 about 8:15 a.m. Friday. The officer stopped to speak to the driver. Williams said the driver seemed distressed, but agreed to pull off the interstate. As the officer turned his back, the man turned to jump off the bridge.

The officer tried to intervene and save the man, but was only able to grab part of the man’s clothing as he fell. The man’s body was found in the weeds near the bridge.

Some roads are blocked near Capitol Market as police and emergency crews secure the scene.



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