Little could have been done to stop the handcuffed man who jumped to his death Tuesday morning while fleeing a downtown Atlanta court facility, an Atlanta police official said.
“It’s so unusual,” Capt. Michael O’Connor said, “that it kind of defies anything that anybody would think of beforehand.”
According to O’Connor and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, the jumper — identified only as a male in his mid-20s — was at the building at 34 Peachtree St. SW for “pretrial intervention” proceedings related to a previous drug arrest. Shortly after he arrived, however, a janitor found a loaded .25-caliber handgun outside the building.
The gun was “concealed in documents which contained the name” of the soon-to-be jumper, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said. He was confronted shortly after the 10:30 a.m. discovery, and reportedly admitted to having stashed the weapon.
Because having the weapon violated the conditions of the bond granted following his prior arrest, deputies decided to take the man into custody. He was handcuffed in a third-story conference room, “three to four” Fulton deputies by his side, when he decided to jump through the plate glass window, O’Connor said.
“While restrained by deputies, he articulated that he did not want to go back to jail,” Flanagan said in an emailed statement. “Once in custody, handcuffed, and seated, the individual arose and ran headfirst into an exterior window, crashing through it and falling approximately 40 feet to the sidewalk on Walton Street.”
The man was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in “extremely critical condition.” He died around 1:30 p.m., Flanagan said said.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office declined to release the man’s name Tuesday afternoon, saying it was still attempting to notify his family.
The Atlanta Police Department and Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office will handled the death investigation, while the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has started an internal investigation into the incident.
Several roads near the building were blocked for more than two hours following the man’s alleged leap.
Justin Israel, a waiter at the nearby Anatolia Cafe and Hookah Lounge, witnessed the commotion.
“It’s extraordinarily shocking,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”