Man taken to UNMH after standoff

APD officers have eastbound I-40 closed at San Mateo. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/ Journal)

Around 1 a.m. Monday, Albuquerque police officers wrapped up a 13-hour standoff over Interstate 40, when they eventually convinced a suicidal man not to jump off the Louisiana overpass.

They say the man told them he had stopped taking his medication and he raved about being framed for murder and a microphone that he believed was implanted in his neck.

Officer Simon Drobik, an APD spokesman, said the man was eventually taken to the University of New Mexico Psychiatric Center. He has not been publicly identified.

Drobik said around 11:30 a.m. Sunday, police received a call stating “my friend is in crisis and needs help” in the area. They soon found a man had climbed on to the overpass where Louisiana crosses I-40 and was clinging to the fence with about 2 inches of concrete under his shoes.

At that point, Drobik said, the officers decided to close the eastbound interstate lanes, worried that if the man jumped he could be a danger to passing motorists as well as himself. The lanes remained closed for the rest of the day while officer Drobik, Sgt. Steve Lowell and Lt. John Gonzalez — who have all been trained in crisis intervention techniques — tried to get him off the ledge.

“There are no magic words to get someone off a bridge,” Drobik said. “It’s all about keeping him safe in the moment.”

Drobik said as the officers were working to build trust with the man, the situation was complicated by drivers who would yell out the window for him to jump.

“He’s already hearing someone tell him in his head to jump and people are physically telling him to jump as they go by,” he said. “I saw a dad with his kids in the car do it. It was totally revolting.”

New Mexico State Police and the Albuquerque Fire Department assisted with traffic control and rescue efforts, and eight APD officers helped direct traffic as vehicles were diverted off the highway at Carlisle and back on at Louisiana.

Meanwhile, the officers on the bridge gave the man water, offered him pizza, and cut a hole in the fence for him. Eventually, Drobik said, the man climbed through to safety.

He is not facing any charges.

“The mental health issues and crisis of him attempting suicide overshadow a minor criminal trespass charge,” he said. “We’re looking at human life more than charges and the human part is getting that guy help.”

The “unprecedented” length of time for the negotiations caused frustration from drivers as the interstate was closed down for much of the day. Around 9 p.m., in an unrelated incident, westbound I-40 was shut down at Eubank for a fatal rollover crash.

“If that was someone you loved how long would you want us up on that bridge?” Drobik said.

Suicidal man prompts extended closure of I-40

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop


Joint Chiefs chairman calls Afghan war a 'strategic failure'
ABQnews Seeker
The top U.S. military officer called ... The top U.S. military officer called the 20-year war in Afghanistan a 'strategic failure' and told Congress on Tuesday that he believes the U.S. ...
'Hamilton' single tickets go on sale online Oct. 5
ABQnews Seeker
Award-winning musical tells the story of ... Award-winning musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton
State not releasing spring standardized test results
ABQnews Seeker
Only 10% of NM public school ... Only 10% of NM public school students participated last year
Donation builds on long legacy of conservation
ABQnews Seeker
San Juan County rancher gives two ... San Juan County rancher gives two easements to state for 12,500-acre site
Isotopes win home finale of 'important' season back with ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Albuquerque Isotopes, who successfully ushered ... The Albuquerque Isotopes, who successfully ushered New Mexico sports fans back into action with the first large-scale public gathering in May put a bow ...
Making room: Major expansions at Presbyterian, UNMH well under ...
ABQnews Seeker
A pair of New Mexico's largest ... A pair of New Mexico's largest hospitals are making headway on massive construction projects, ...
Lawsuit filed in fatal balloon crash
ABQnews Seeker
FAA report last week said pilot ... FAA report last week said pilot had cocaine, marijuana in his system
ABQ restaurants mark reopening with free food
ABQnews Seeker
The Feel Good and Modern General ... The Feel Good and Modern General Feed and Seed offer free meals Tuesday and Wednesday
Cool weather, rain expected for New Mexico this week
ABQnews Seeker
National Weather Service office in ABQ ... National Weather Service office in ABQ focused on 'heavy rain and flash flooding risk'