Police car lights
STEVE APPS, STATE JOURNAL ARCHIVES

A suicidal man on a sixth floor ledge of a West Side apartment building was rescued by police who grabbed him before he could jump.

The rescue happened at about 12:45 a.m. Saturday at the apartment building on University Avenue, Madison police said.

The 22-year-old Madison man was on his cellphone out on the ledge, saying goodbye to his mother.

"Officers went through a window to find the distraught man on the ledge, on the other side of a fence meant to keep people safe," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

One officer climbed over the fence and onto the ledge while the other officer stayed on the other side of the fence.

When the officer on the ledge heard the man say "goodbye" and "I love you" to his mother, he took action.

"The officer grabbed one of the man's arms, and the second officer grabbed the other arm," DeSpain said. "They were able to pull him back to the fence."

Two more officers arrived and the four were able to lift the man over the fence and to safety.

"His mother feared that was to be their last conversation, but an officer assured her that her son was now safe," DeSpain said.

The man told officers he had been struggling with drug addiction and money issues. He was taken to a facility where he could get help.

Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.