The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday morning was contacted by a mother stating her son had threatened to kill himself but she did not know his location.
Shortly thereafter, the youth sent pictures to his family showing him at a steep cliff. HCSO deputies were able to locate the individual’s vehicle at the head of the Falling Water Trail on Signal Mountain. He then went on Facebook Live and made comments that he was waiting on law enforcement to find him so he could “jump off the cliff.”
Deputies on scene requested members of the HCSO Hostage and Negotiation Team (HNT) to respond to the scene to communicate with the distressed individual. Upon arriving on scene, negotiations began with him standing on the edge of the cliff. After several minutes he was convinced to move away from the cliff and move closer to negotiators so they could hear each other better.
Eventually, after negotiators were able to provide a calming presence, they were successfully able to de-escalate the situation and the individual agreed to leave the woods and go for a mental evaluation. He was then escorted out of the woods by law enforcement and HCEMS personnel assessed him on scene prior to being transported to a local medical facility.
HCSO HNT is comprised of deputies who have been specially trained to deal with situations where de-escalation is critical such as barricaded suspects, hostage situations, or incidents involving suicidal individuals.
“With an increase in mental health related calls for service across our community, HNT deputies, along with their counterparts in our Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), support our patrol deputies on a daily basis. Today’s incident highlights the need for these specially trained deputies and I am proud of their ability to de-escalate this potentially life-threatening situation,” stated Sheriff Austin Garrett.