A 20-year-old man equipped with large suction cups, who police said wanted to talk to Donald Trump, scaled Trump Tower for hours on Wednesday before authorities pulled him inside the building.
Cops were alerted to the man, who is from Virginia and had several forms of identification with him, at 3:40 p.m., police said. The man, wearing shorts, a black shirt and a backpack, climbed the skyscraper until officers grabbed him just after 6:30 p.m.
The man was brought out of the building on a stretcher, sitting up with his head down and his hair covering his face. He was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the Bellevue Hospital Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
Rescuers blew out windows and deployed air bags on the ground throughout the man’s climb. Police activity caused extensive traffic in the surrounding area.
“What he explained to us is that he wanted a personal meeting with Mr. Trump,” said Bill Aubry, chief of Manhattan detectives, adding the man posted a YouTube video on Tuesday. “That YouTube video explains that he’s an independent researcher, and he wanted to meet with him [Trump] and that’s the reason why he was climbing this building. At no time did he express he wanted to hurt anybody. His sole intention was to meet with Mr. Trump.”
The building serves as the headquarters for Trump’s presidential campaign, but Trump was in Virginia on Wednesday for a rally.
A video posted to YouTube and shared by the New York Daily News showed a man who looked like the climber. In the video, titled “Message to Mr. Trump (why I climbed your tower),” the man called himself “an independent researcher seeking a private audience with to discuss an important matter.” He also encouraged viewers to “help make this video go viral so that it gets to Mr. Trump, and be sure to get out and vote for Mr. Trump in the 2016 election.”
The video, posted Tuesday, was uploaded by a user named Leven Thumps, which is the name of a children’s book series by Obert Skye.
Hundreds of people looked on as rescuers tried to get the man off the building.
“It’s another day in New York,” said Linda Wright, 66, of the Upper West Side, who was watching from the glass atrium of Trump Tower. “Hopefully, nobody gets hurt.”
Marina Ward, 44, a Westbury native who now lives in Grapevine, Texas, was visiting New York when she came across the incident.
“It’s par for the course,” the native New Yorker said. “I’m not flummoxed at all. Different people, different ideas, different cultures, different politics, that’s what makes New York.”
Her daughter Emily Ward, 18, was more intrigued and said her friends at home were tweeting news reports about the climber while she was able to send them live pictures.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.