By Jano Tantongco
NYPD Officer and East Northport-native Matthew Simpson was among of four police officers who prevented a man from plunging off a bridge in Brooklyn on Christmas Eve.
Officers Simpson, Christopher Schlitt, Rohail Khalid and Kristo Cevi responded to a call of a distraught man ready to leap to his death on the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge in Brooklyn, according to a NYPD release.
When they arrived at the scene, the officers encountered a passerby who directed the them toward a 62-year-old man who had climbed a support pillar on the bridge and threatened to jump. They tried to talk him down, police said, but he would not respond.
He then brandished a knife and tried to slit his wrist before emptying his pockets and throwing his belongings toward the water.
When he was done, he leapt toward the water. But the officers quickly moved to catch him and were able to pull him back onto the bridge’s walkway.
Emergency medical services responded and brought him to Brookdale Hospital, where his daughter met him. Police said he was being evaluated and treated for minor wrist wounds.
“It’s nice to see Matt Simpson as an New York City police officer conducting himself a professional manner and saving a life,” said Wayne Kaifler Jr., fire chief of the East Northport Fire Department.
Simpson has volunteered at the fire department for about five years, Kaifler said. Simpson is an active emergency medical technician and an active firefighter, as well.
“He’s an active member of the department who helps out when he can… even with the full-time job,” Kaifler said. “He still finds the time to volunteer and help out the local community.”