Templeton resident intervenes in suicide attempt
—Templeton resident Rico Barnes and his six year old daughter, nicknamed “Monster”, were just driving to McDonald’s on Jan. 29 when the outing turned into an opportunity to save a man from a suicide attempt.
Barnes was driving on the Highway 41 bridge when his attention was caught by a man standing on the bridge watching traffic. After passing the man, Barnes glanced in his rearview mirror and realized the man was on the edge of the bridge, had a noose around his neck and was holding rope.
“It was just pure randomness,” said Barnes, who noted that the man’s intentions were only clear when looking in the rearview mirror at the situation.
After turning the car around, Barnes started honking to get the man’s attention. He told his daughter to stay in the car and then walked over to the man keeping eye contact and using soothing words. The man seemed sad and was not angry or hostile, according to Barnes. Next, the man stepped off the bridge, in a way comparable to exiting a plane while skydiving.
“It took me a moment…to register what I just saw,” said Barnes, who waited until the rope was taut and then cut it with his ranch knife to lessen the man’s injuries. From the bridge’s vantage point, the man seemed to convulse and shake on the ground below, and his neck was rubbed raw.
While Barnes was cutting the rope, a passerby stopped to help call the police. Two other witnesses were below the bridge and approached the man to calm him, but the man walked to his truck and drove off as police were arriving.
“If you’re going to involve yourself, think in terms of how you can help the person in the moment without hurting yourself,” said Barnes.
The man is described as being 5’10”, young, white, and short sandy hair with a dark blue Ford pickup, according to reports.