Police Downgrade Response As Tulsa Tower Standoff Nears Day 4


Saturday, August 13th 2011, 8:40 am
By: News On 6


UPDATE: This is now the longest standoff in TPD history. The old record was just 32 hours. The 25-year-old man has been on the radio tower for more than 59 hours now.

Dee Duren, NewsOn6.com

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A senior negotiator says the Tulsa Police Department is pulling some of the emergency crews back from the scene as a man continues to perch on the Clear Channel radio tower Saturday morning.

The 25-year-old man, identified only as William, has been on the 300-foot communications tower since about 11 a.m. Thursday. Police say he suffers from a history of mental problems.

Senior Negotiator Cole Butler told The News On 6 that William again refused to leave the tower in a fire department bucket truck.

"They've already been up three times and made it very, very easy for him to get in the bucket. He's refused, so we offered it to him one more time," Butler said.

"He started getting agitated and irritated with me, then went into his dreaming state, rocking back and forth."

Butler said after offering William another chance, the fire department is leaving the scene. EMSA crews are also leaving, he said.

"We're kind of pulling the audience away from him," Butler said. "There's very few of us here now."

Police say the 25-year-old man broke through a security fence Thursday morning and climbed up the tower located at 27th and Memorial.

8/12/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Man Still Refusing To Come Down From East Tulsa Radio Tower

Butler said the man got a short "power nap" Saturday morning. William periodically yells out to officers then seems satisfied with the attention for a few more hours, the negotiator said.

Tulsa police say the previous record for a standoff was 32 hours.

"It's just a waiting deal. He may be able to deny his hunger pains and his thirst, but he cannot deny what dehydration does to the body," Officer Butler said. "It would be good for him to come down before that happens.

"He has absolutely 100 percent opportunity to come down, but he chooses not to," he said.

Members of William's family spent time at the site Friday, trying to get the young man to come down.

Police are doing their best to keep bystanders away as they believe spectators are feeding William's desire for attention.

"In my estimation, this is going to go on for a long time," he said. "This may have rolled over into a competition in his mind, showing the world his stamina."

Butler said that the department will continue to hope for the best resolution to the standoff.

"How much time is a life worth?" he asked.