Sunday morning a little after 11, San Francisco Police Department received an unusual call. They had reports of a man acting erratically who had mounted the Spanish American War Memorial statue on Dolores Street near Market. After over three hours of coaxing and negotiations, the man finally came off the statue around 2:30 p.m..
Witnesses say the man, who was initially shirtless and without shoes, climbed on top of the bronze Pegasus and began riding it like a horse and even tried to tie a bandana around its neck.
Rescue workers arrived on the scene shortly thereafter. At least eight police cars and one fire engine blocked off Dolores Street, while rescue workers placed ladders against the statue. After initial attempts to coax the man down, the police department’s special hostage negotiation team arrived on scene.
“We had three different hostage negotiators talk to him,” said Sergeant Marta Juarez. “He was rambling… people under the influence of narcotics have highs and lows.”
According to Juarez, the man at one point told officers he was on meth. She said the police have no reason at this point to believe otherwise.
According to witnesses, the man approached the ladder hesitantly on several occasions but was described as “skittish and very freaked out.” He quickly retreated while rescue workers attempted to talk him down. The following video submitted by a reader shows an emergency response crew attempting to get the man to climb down one of their ladders with mixed results:
After several hours of negotiations, the man removed his pants. While he came close on several occasions to climbing down the fire department’s ladder, he continued to refuse opportunities to get off the statue, but eventually he came down under his own volition.
“He eventually got tired, hungry, and cold, and came down on his own accord,” said Juarez. “We did everything we could to coax him down. The most important thing is that he didn’t get hurt.”
Juarez indicated that the man was taken away in an ambulance and will be given medical attention.
Tweets from the scene:
There is some hella San Francisco shit happening at Dolores and Market pic.twitter.com/qoFiR8rE4G
— Zac Minor (@zacminor) October 26, 2014
We’ll update this story with more details as warranted.