The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team had to shut down power in the Charlottesville area Sunday in order to rescue a shirtless man who had climbed up an electrical tower.
Officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) arrived on the scene to talk to the man who was already 70 feet up the tower. They also called Duke Energy to shut off the tower, causing outages for some residents and businesses, the CMPD said in a news release. (RELATED: REPORT: Convicted Murderer Hides Out In Attic For Separate Crime, Arrested By SWAT Team)
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While officers attempted to communicate with the man, he reportedly climbed an additional 15-20 feet further up the tower, according to the news release.
CMPD Major Brian Foley claimed that the man appeared to be heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to Fox 46 Charlotte.
Duke Energy rerouted the power to other stations, so homes and businesses in the area could have power, according to the news release.
“This is about saving someone’s life. I know some people were upset about their power being cut off, but truly his (sic) is about trying to protect an individual and keep them from dying,” said Foley, according to Fox 46 Charlotte.
The man eventually climbed down safely without any injuries after communicating with SWAT negotiators for four hours and was taken to Atrium Main, a local hospital, for treatment, the news release read.
Police claimed that bystanders present at the scene made the situation difficult by making jokes about it on social media, betting on whether the man would fall, and one bystander who was charged, flew a drone up near where the man was on the tower, according to Fox 46 Charlotte.
“That makes me sick. This is about trying to save a life, and when people look at it as purely entertainment, that’s a sad state of affairs for our society,” Foley said, according to the outlet.