Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is a smooth-talking lawmaker — a talent that came in handy this week when the San Diego Republican persuaded a man not to hang himself on a downtown Sacramento bike bridge over the American River.
The Sacramento Police Department confirmed Thursday that two passers-by intervened Wednesday after spotting the man with one end of a rope tied around his neck and the other around a bikeway commonly known as the "Pipe Bridge" in northern Sacramento near North 18th Street. Their names were not immediately available.
Fletcher said he was jogging in the area about 1 p.m. Wednesday when he spotted the suicidal man, then asked a passer-by to summon police and approached the distraught subject along with a homeless man who called himself "Squirrel."
"We sat out there for 20 or 30 minutes and just talked," Fletcher said. "The guy had lost his job, was having problems with his family and issues with law enforcement. He was just going through a rough period in his life.
"I said, 'Hey, you're still a young man' – he was probably about 40 – 'you've got a lot of life to live.' "
Fletcher said the man, who identified himself as Donny, laughed a little when the assemblyman quipped, "I've got news for you, it doesn't sound like it can get any worse. Hey, it can only get better."
Fletcher said Squirrel told the guy, "Hey, man, I'm homeless, and I'm not going to go out there and jump."
A former Marine Corps counterintelligence officer, Fletcher said that he told Donny he was not going to let him hang himself, and that Fletcher would grab and hold him, if necessary, so "get that out of your head."
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