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Video: NJ cop stops man from jumping off building

“I love you,” Officer Eric Knuttel told the complete stranger after rescuing him on top of a 13-story parking garage

atlantic city police rescue suicidal man.PNG

By Suzie Ziegler

ATLANT CITY, N.J. — Officer Eric Knuttel is being hailed a hero after he helped save a man from jumping to his death Wednesday night.

Atlantic City Police released bodyworn camera footage of the encounter, which shows Knuttel trying to reason with the man and eventually pulling him back from the edge of the parking garage roof.

According to the agency, police were called to the scene for a suicidal man who was threatening to jump from a 13-story-high parking garage. Knuttel, a member of the agency’s Crisis Negotiation team, found the man sitting on a ledge and began to talk him down.

“We had a fairly long conversation. We were going to try to build rapport with him, so he knew somebody cared, and he knew somebody was there for him and not just him against the world,” Knuttel told CBS 3.

Minutes passed, and Knuttel said he grew concerned as the man became upset.

[READ: Police intervention and the suicidal subject: Suicide facts and fictions]

“I saw him stand up and look toward the sides and he rolled his head down and he started walking. I knew that I had to do something,” Knuttel said.

Knuttel lunged, grabbing the man’s legs while other responding officers pulled both men back from the edge of the roof.

In the video, Knuttel consoles the man and tells him, “I love you.”

“I just could just hear it in his voice, he started crying. You could hear him weeping and I just remember telling him I loved him. I thought he needed to hear that,” Knuttel told reporters. “I had so much compassion and so much love for the man that I wanted him to know that people care about him. I never met him ever in my life. I believe that I was put there in that moment of time for that reason.”