Suicide rescue negotiators talk Fredy Gutierrez from Turnpike ledge

Suicide rescue negotiators recall Monday's Turnpike suicide attempt

DAVIE, Fla. - It was the job of a very elite group of men and women from the Davie Police Department to talk the Vietnam veteran who shut down the Turnpike during a suicide attempt Monday morning down from the ledge.

Fredy Gutierrez, 59, was threatening to jump from a flyover connecting the Turnpike to I-595.

The Davie Crisis Response Team wasted no time going to work.

"Right off the bat he said, 'I don't want to die, but I'm prepared to die,'" said Chad Rosen, the primary negotiator.

Trained in suicide rescue -- a delicate art of saving people from themselves, negotiators know what to say and what not to say.

"People in crisis are unpredictable," said Patricia Ravine, the secondary negotiator on the case. "You could have them completely rational and you could say one thing that sets them off, and over they go.

"I made initial contact via cell phone," Rosen said. "I want them to understand that the person they're talking to is not just looking to come in and arrest them or beat them up or harm them. It's important for them to know that we're actually there to help."

One of the concerns Monday morning was that Gutierrez appeared to be drinking beer while straddling the wall on the overpass. He also had a rifle within reach.

"He could start shooting rounds at bystanders and other vehicles that were traveling on the roadways," Rosen said. "He could take shots at responding officers."
Rosen immediately built a rapport with Gutierrez who was upset that the United States government was threatening to deport him back to his native Colombia. That despite the fact that he'd lived in the states since he was 11 years old, and fought for this country.

"I thanked him for his time and his military service on Veterans Day," Rosen said. "I told him that I was proud to be speaking with him because he's obviously an honorable man."

Records show that Fredy Gutierrez, a self-employed air conditioning repairman who between 1973 and 2003 has been arrested 15 times. In 1978, he was arrested and convicted of an assault with a deadly weapon and served 5 years in prison.

No charges were filed against him for Monday's incident. Officials say Gutierrez didn't break any laws.

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