Tulsa Man Still Refusing To Come Down From East Tulsa Radio Tower

Friday, August 12th 2011, 8:00 am

By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry and NewsOn6.com

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa emergency crews are monitoring a man with a history of mental illness who has climbed up an eastside radio tower. He's been there for more than 58 hours now, and police don't believe he's suicidal.

A 25-year-old man police identify only as William climbed the 300-foot Clear Channel Radio tower Thursday morning at 27th and Memorial. Tulsa fire, police and EMSA have been on the scene with him ever since. 

Late Friday afternoon as severe weather moved into the area, authorities tried to use a bucket truck to help the man down. High winds forced crews to pull the bucket back with the man still high atop the tower.

Police say the man broke through a security fence Thursday morning and climbed up the tower.

At one point, police fired pepper spray balls at him to encourage him to come down, but none of their attempts have been successful.

How many resources is the city is devoting to this case and at what cost?

"You are going to incur some costs that are going to be associated with this type of large scale event," said Officer Jason Willingham, Tulsa police spokesperson.

Tulsa police blocked off the area and placed several officers on the scene to maintain a safe perimeter. They've also supplied negotiators to deal with the man.

"We're trying to utilize on-duty resources as much as possible. Probably 95 percent of the people you see out here are actually supposed to be at work today, so it's really going to keep down the overtime costs," Willingham said.

The Tulsa Fire Department's technical rescue team is also assisting, and they aren't allowed to leave, since they are the only crew trained in high-angle rope rescues.

"We have our technical rescue crew, which is comprised of four trucks, then we have a couple of air and light trucks that are giving assistance as far as lighting. We've been out here the whole time," said Tulsa Fire Chief Eddie Bell.

Authorities won't release an exact dollar amount yet on the resources devoted to this case.

Some viewers are outraged.

"I'm just sick of the money and resources we are using on this guy," said one woman.

"One police unit back a distance should be able to cuff him," said another.

And finally: "If he jumps, he jumps. If not, he's wasted a lot of tax dollars."

Emergency crews say, bottom line, they have a legal responsibility to be there.

"His life is in jeopardy. He is trespassing on Clear Channel's property and we can't just walk away," said Officer Jason Willingham of the Tulsa Police Department.


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