Man causes disturbance in Gaslamp, surrenders after climbing traffic signal

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man ran into traffic lanes on an East Village thoroughfare Monday, halting vehicles and threatening startled drivers before climbing onto a traffic signal where he remained perched for about an hour until officers persuaded him to surrender.

San Diego police got reports about a shirtless man with a shaved head jumping in front of cars in the 600 block of 16th Street while shouting racial insults and making menacing statements shortly after 6:30 a.m., SDPD Detective Gary Hassen said.

The 27-year-old transient also made comments suggesting that he would not be taken into custody, Lt. Darryl Hoover told KGTV. “The (man) had been yelling that … police were going to need to kill him and that he wanted police to respond and he wanted news media to respond,” the lieutenant said.

After harassing several motorists and breaking branches off a few roadside trees, the drifter scaled a traffic-light standard at the corner of nearby Market Street, the lieutenant said.

Patrol officers gathered below him and tried to talk him into coming down as he continued to rant while sitting or standing on a horizontal arm on the signal. At one point, he took off his shoes and socks and threw them to the ground.

Police blocked off traffic lanes in the area as a safety precaution during the stalemate.

Finally, about 7:45 a.m., the drifter agreed to climb down a ladder that police had placed next to the light pole. Officers then handcuffed him and took him to a county mental health facility for a psychological evaluation.

The motivation for the man's behavior was unclear.

“I don't know why he did it,” Hoover said. “We believe he was under the influence of some sort of drug, so we don't know what his rationale was.”

Categories: KUSI