BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Two area police officers are being hailed as heroes after pulling a man off the ledge of the parking garage at the Sands Casino and to make matters worse, police say when they arrived the man had his three-year-old son in his arms.
According to Police Chief Mark DiLuzio, it all began Tuesday around 6:44pm with a call for a domestic dispute in the 900 block of Hellertown Road in Bethlehem.
The call was for a woman who had allegedly been thrown out of a vehicle by her husband.
Police say the woman stated her husband threatened suicide and took off in the vehicle with their three-year-old son.
Minutes later, a second call involving the same man came through to dispatch this time stating he was calling from the parking garage at the Sands Casino.
That's when police officers Michael DiLuzio and Blake Kuntz got involved.
"The male was calling them from the 7th floor of the casino garage and said that he was there and the child was safe but he couldn't guarantee the safety of the child," said DiLuzio.
When they arrived, the officers say they could clearly see the man sitting on the railing on the seventh story holding a child.
After racing to the 7th deck the pair turned off their sirens and lights and parked at a distance in order not to not startle the suspect.
"Then I just said 'we're here to help you, we're here to talk to you' and I repeated 'we're here to help you' again and at that point he said 'I just want to put my son down' and that's when he put his son down on the ground," said officer Kuntz.
Seconds later, the officers say the man went to jump but they quickly grabbed him and pulled him off the ledge.
Officer DiLuzio says although he was distraught the man was grateful for their actions, "That was one of the first things after we pulled him off the ledge and got him handcuffed. He was crying and I'm pretty sure the first words out of his mouth were thank you" he said.
The man, 40-year-old Robert Wilkinson, was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation and was later released.
He's now facing several charges including simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
The toddler has since been reunited with his mother.
Allentown, PA 18102