Credit: Ryan P. Cruz

[Updated: Fri., July 28, 2:30pm]

A dangerous situation was averted midday on Friday after a shirtless, shoeless man climbed the sandstone bricks on the Santa Barbara County Courthouse archway shortly before noon, forcing emergency crews to shut down Anacapa street and stretch an engine ladder nearly 40 feet up to rescue the man.

Bystanders crowded the streets while fire crews and police spoke with the man, who appeared to be in distress but did not make any attempts to jump. According to witnesses at the scene, when people on the ground shouted telling the man not to jump, he responded by shouting back, “Don’t worry about me. I’m not going to jump. I’m here to save you all.”

While the fire engine slowly rolled into position to rescue the man — who appeared to be also suffering from heat exhaustion, wearing only a pair of khaki shorts — the man walked back and forth along the top edge of the walkway, kissing the statues on either side and eventually sitting in the middle of the archway. During this time, he could be heard saying, “Don’t arrest me” and “I don’t care.”

As the ladder reached the archway, he peacefully climbed down of his own accord without incident. When he reached the bottom, emergency crews sat him in the shade and gave him some water to drink. Shortly after, social workers arrived and the man could be heard saying, “We did it; we showed them.” The entire incident lasted about 20 minutes, with traffic on Anacapa Street being diverted for roughly 45 minutes.

Medical staff attended to the man, and he was not placed in handcuffs at the scene. Santa Barbara Police spokesperson Ethan Ragsdale said that, while there may have been a crime involved, the main priority was to ensure that he was able to get any medical assistance he needed and refer him to mental-health services.

“At this time, no criminal charges are being considered,” Ragsdale said in a statement released later Friday afternoon.


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