Jumper Incident in Hart Ends Safely

Posted July 22, 2008 at 9:48am

Capitol Police convinced a suicidal man to climb to safety at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, more than eight hours after he first threatened to jump into the atrium from the seventh floor of the Hart Senate Office Building.

Yuan Fang, 66, of Flushing, N.Y., climbed over the glass wall surrounding the atrium and onto its narrow marble ledge at about 5:45 p.m., just in front of the office of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Police have not released Fang’s reasons for threatening to jump, though they have said he was charged with disorderly conduct and transported to Capitol Police headquarters for processing.

Hours of “deliberate negotiations” with the U.S. Capitol Police Crisis Negotiations Team and a Mandarin translator from the Metropolitan Police Department finally persuaded Fang to climb back over the railing, according to an e-mail from Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider.

Police restricted the seventh floor and the atrium to emergency personnel while negotiations were in progress.

Dozens of Capitol Hill Police officers on Monday evening flooded the building, which was enveloped in an eerie quietness, while staffers continued to leave for the day as if nothing extraordinary was happening.

The Hart Building, the largest of the Senate’s three office buildings, was completed in 1982. A giant mobile-stabile sculpture by Alexander Calder hangs from the ceiling and is the centerpiece of the atrium.