WARNING: DISTRESSING FOOTAGE
This is the moment a cool-headed policeman managed to talk down a man claiming to be armed – in apparent attempt to kill himself by ‘suicide by cop’.
Officer Josh Macmillian attended the scene in Fontana, California, US, to confront what he believed to be an armed man concealing a weapon just after 9am on 27 November.
The weeping man initially refused to put his hands in the air despite repeated demands from the armed officer, and instead pleaded ‘please shoot me’.
In the footage, officer MacMillian quickly realises the suspect is trying to end his life by pretending to be armed and begs for him to take his hands out of his pockets.
It’s a tense stand-off as the man refuses to co-operate but officer MacMillian remains calm and keeps repeating that he does ‘not want to shoot’ before asking the man to let him try and help.
Eventually the cop asks for the man’s name and attempts to show empathy by pleading ‘you’re going through some s**t, let me help you’.
The suspect breaks down on his knees and again asks to be shot – but the cool-headed officer safely detains him with the help of other officers.
Footage of the astonishing interaction was released by Fontana Police Department and has gone viral, racking up more than 600,000 views online.
Sergeant Kellen Guthrie, from the Fontana Police Department, said: “It’s one of those situations that we wanted to put out there. These situations happen a lot more than people realise and it was an intense situation that could have unfolded very differently.
“Mental health is a big issue in our country right now and the officer did his best in this situation and thankfully it worked this time.
“It could have gone a lot differently had the officer’s de-escalation tactics not worked and the [civilian] hadn’t listened or had pulled a cellphone out like a gun.”
Chief of Police William Green, of Fontana Police Department, said: “The person in this video was clearly experiencing a mental health crisis. Calls this like are becoming all too common and our police officers are regularly thrust into volatile situations.
“The vast majority of calls for service nationwide are handled by caring and compassionate police officers and result in minimal uses of force. The unfortunate reality is that this is not the narrative that is perpetuated by many in the media and anti-police activists.
“[The man in the video] placed the call to facilitate our response in an attempt to commit suicide by cop. Had the man not responded to the tireless de-escalation tactics employed by Officer MacMillan, the outcome could have been tragic for the individual in crisis and our officers.
“Despite my immense pride in the consistent meritorious behaviour of the men and woman of the Fontana Police Department, I am aware the same great work is done by our police officers and deputies across the country every day.”
UOKM8? is a campaign by LADbible, featuring films and stories that provide advice and inspiration on mental health. Explore more here and don’t suffer in silence.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.