Homeless hero: Transient saves bridge jumper near Sacramento State University

Unnamed good Samaritan uses knife to cut down suicidal subject

A quick-thinking bystander with a knife saved a suicidal man’s life last week.

The situation unfolded early in the morning of March 1, according to an incident summary from the Sacramento Police Department. Shortly past midnight that Wednesday, a homeless man reportedly came across a male subject who was preparing to leap off the Guy West Bridge with a rope around his neck. The 87-foot-high pedestrian bridge spans the American River, connecting the Sacramento State University campus to the Campus Commons development near the 900 block of University Avenue.

Police say the witness happened to be in the area when he saw the man preparing to jump from a height of about 30 to 40 feet, and attempted to talk him out of it, but was unsuccessful.

When the man jumped, the police summary says, the witness rushed to the rail of the bridge, “produced a knife, and cut the subject down.”

The man fell to the ground below, suffering only minor injuries, police say. The witness then escorted him back to the top of the bridge where personnel from the Sacramento Fire Department had been summoned. The man was transported to a local hospital, police say. As for the good Samaritan, police spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said officers listed him as a transient with no additional contact information.

Asked how the man survived the fall without greater injury to his neck, Heinlein couldn’t say. “Fate, I guess,” he said.