For nearly 13 hours, Farhad Ajir perched on the San Francisco Bay Bridge, slashing his wrists with a razor blade and resolving to jump. The Los Angeles Times reports that the California Highway Patrol’s attempt at rescuing Ajir, 38, this month caused massive traffic jams, bringing businesses to a halt and almost delaying a major league baseball game. Motorists were so angered that some encouraged Ajor to jump and get it over with. When he was finally rescued, Ajir was and charged with four felonies and five misdemeanors.
The standoff alerted law enforcement officials that their tactics needed revision. The highway patrol ordered a review of its actions. The suggestion of a local inventor and talk show host, Bill Wattenburg, led the patrol to recommend paying a federal laboratory to develop a device to “ensnare suicidal individuals.”
An internal report released last week suggested that the agency took too long to respond with its Special Weapons and Tactics unit, which had to travel from Sacramento, and that the incident congested too many lanes on a vital bridge.
Officials admit the incident caught them off guard. It is unusual for anyone to want to jump off the Bay Bridge, which has no sidewalk. Emergency personnel were forced to block off a major section of the bridge to accommodate their equipment.