A New York police officer is being recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty for a citizen in need.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio honored Officer Christian Campoverde, 27, on Tuesday after he saved a distraught man from leaping off the third floor balcony at Queens Center mall on Dec. 20 with a simple act of compassion.
Officer Campoverde was off-duty and spending time with his family at the mall, when an agitated man mumbling that he wanted to end his life pushed his way past shoppers on the escalator.
The officer’s reaction?
To give him a hug.
“I saw people’s reactions, they were angry towards him,” Officer Campoverde told CBS New York. “Me and my wife look at it differently – we saw a man who needed help.”
Sensing that something was seriously wrong, Officer Campoverde followed the man.
“I need to calm him down, I need to connect to him. I don t know exactly what he’s going through, but whatever he’s going through, it’s tough,” said Officer Campoverde at a Times Square event, reports AM New York.
When the New York policeman reached the distraught male citizen, he had one leg over a balcony railing – ready to end his life.
Officer Campoverde, who recently completed NYPD’s Crisis Intervention Team training which instructs officers on how to recognize signs of mental illness, reached over the railing, grabbed the man’s waistband, and pulled him to safety.
He then attempted to calm him down with a heartwarming gesture.
“Is it OK if I give you a hug, do you want a hug?” he asked, according to NYPD News.
After replying yes, the troubled man fell into the officer’s arms and began sobbing.
He was eventually taken in for evaluation by emergency medical services, reports CBS New York.