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Standoff Ends at Cape May Coast Guard Water Tower

A member of the Coast Guard who climbed to the top of the water tower at their training facility in Cape May on Thursday came down early on Friday morning.

A man can be seen to the right on the water tower at the Coast Guard training facility in Cape May during a standoff
A man can be seen to the right on the water tower at the Coast Guard training facility in Cape May during a standoff (Press of Atlantic City)

The Coast Guard in a statement says the unidentified man came down on his own around 2 a,m. with a harness provided by the Coast Guard Fire Department who assisted with the climb down.

“We are so grateful the situation was able to be resolved safely,” said Capt. G. Todd Prestidge, the commanding officer of the training center said in a statement.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the member and his family during this difficult time. I am very proud of the response from my crew and the local Coast Guard family, and appreciate the support and partnership from local agencies. Cape May County truly is a Coast Guard Community.”

Spokeswoman Lt. Kate McHenry says negotiators from the Cape May County prosecutors office worked with him for 14 hours. The Coast Guard would not comment on his possible motives or release his name.

Recruit graduation will take place on Friday as scheduled on the base.

During the wait, officials say that a Coast Guard helicopter flew over the tower to check on whether he was tired and to look for any hazards.

The Cape May Herald reports the  man made the climb without permission around noon on Thursday afternoon and to the deck around the tower. Spotlights were brought in as negotiations went into the night. The Press of Atlantic City reports negotiators addressed him as “Mr. Mike”  and lost contact with him several times. “He’s one of our people. He’s family. We want him to well,” Coast Guard Lt. Kate McHenry told the Press. “We had him out of view for some time. From our vantage point if he is sitting down or lies down we can’t see him.”

The man also threw pieces of paper to the ground during the standoff.

Coast Guard Police and Fire, Cape May and Wildwood police, the Cape May County Sheriff’s Department, and the SWAT team through the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office all responded to the scene according to NBC 40.

The base describes itself as the fifth largest Coast Guard base and with about 2,000 people on base according to the base’s website.

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