NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man who wanted to meet Donald Trump scaled Trump Tower for three hours before being pulled through a removed glass pane more than 20 stories above the street.
The man, whom police sources identified to WCBS 880 as Steve from Virginia, was grabbed by police through a window pane that had been carefully cut out from the 21st floor and pulled to safety. It all came after several tense hours that never seemed to end, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.
Police initially offered a line to the climber who was approaching them, but he refused it. Police then grabbed him by the arm and pulled him through the window, as the climber’s feet were dangling out the window.
“I reached out, took hold of his hand, and said, ‘Sir, you need to come with me,’” said NYPD Detective Christopher Williams.
Chief William Morris, commander of Patrol Bureau Manhattan South, said the NYPD was in consultation with the Secret Service during the incident.
NYPD Emergency Services Unit Chief Vincent Giordano explained during a news conference that they removed window panes to stop the climber from ascending.
“We wanted to proceed slow,” Giordano said. “We didn’t want the individual to fall, so we wanted to do it in the safest manner as possible.”
Detective Williams of the Emergency Services Unit grabbed the climber following the ordeal.
“I was waiting for the perfect time to present itself,” Williams said. “When that time came, I talked to my crew and let them know he’s at a level where I can grab him safely and pull him in.”
Manhattan Detectives Chief William Aubry confirmed what WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported — that the climber posted a video to YouTube on Tuesday saying that he wanted a personal meeting with Donald Trump.
“He wanted Mr. Trump’s attention and wanted to meet him,” Aubry stated.
PHOTOS: Man Climbs Trump Tower
Aubry said the 20-year-old climber from Virginia came to New York City on Tuesday and stayed in a local hotel Tuesday night before the climbing incident. Aubry added the climber had various identifications in his backpack and that he was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he will be getting a psychological evaluation.
Police sources told WCBS 880 the climber said his name is Steve.
The person in the video said he was “an independent researcher seeking a private audience” with Donald Trump to “discuss an important matter.”
“The reason I climbed your tower was to get your attention. If I had sought this via conventional means, I would be much less likely to have success because you are a busy man with many responsibilities,” the man said.
He continued, “As for anyone else who’s watching, please help make this video go viral so that it gets to Mr. Trump and be sure to go out and vote for Mr. Trump in the 2016 election.”
The incident all started around 3:30 p.m. when people began to post pictures and video to social media of the man climbing the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and 56th Street.
Dressed in gray shorts, an olive shirt and a white baseball cap, the man could be seen methodically placing the suction cups in place as he inched his way up and around the building. He also had harnesses, rappelling gear, and a backpack.
At one point, he paused, appeared to say something to rescue crews, and took a drink from a water bottle he had in his backpack.
There was a large police presence at the scene throughout the ordeal, along with a throng of gawkers. Police shut down Fifth Avenue north of 56th Street, and also shut down 56th Street east of Fifth Avenue.
Traffic in the area was brought to a standstill. Barricades were set up on either side of Fifth Avenue, and 56th Street was also closed to pedestrians.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton also responded to the scene.
The throng of spectators was left to wonder who the mystery Midtown climber could be.
“I think he’s probably a nutjob trying to head to the top,” said Tracy O’Brien of South Africa.
“I have no idea — I’m just walking home from work and I’m seeing this and I’m just surprised at what’s going on,” said Mary Santoro of Midtown.
“Some people take things to the extreme — maybe it’s a Trump protest. Maybe he doesn’t like Trump, who knows?” Emerson Overton of the Bronx said before the man’s YouTube video revealed his claim that he was a Trump supporter.
As the man made his way up, police broke a window and set down blankets and towels, but the man ignored them and kept going. Police later removed two large windowpanes whole, and attempted to hand the man a rope to climb up through the window.
It was after the man refused to take the rope that police grabbed him and pulled him into the window.
As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, slow and steady proved the best way to bring the man inside safely.
“And I brought him inside with the help of my partner, and we placed him in custody and handed him over to EMS,” Williams said.
Once inside, the man was immediately evaluated inside what sources said was a store within Trump Tower that sells Ivanka Trump clothing. He was then whisked away in a waiting ambulance and taken to Bellevue Hospital Center.
Authorities said police were placed in a difficult situation.
“It’s really tough because the guy definitely doesn’t want to be caught and he has the ability to stay away from the PD,” Mike Giroux of the Yonkers Fire Department said. “So now it comes to a tough situation — what are we going to do? Are you really going to take this next window, try to corner him? It’s a tough call.”
Giroux added, “It definitely gets frustrating because here you have a person who is actually putting himself in danger, let alone everyone else. The roads are shut down at rush hour.”
Retired NYPD Sgt. Joseph Giacalone said the man undermined whatever point he was trying to make by angering the whole city.
“His cause is going to be pretty much lost because he made a lot of people angry today on their commute home,” Giacalone said shortly before the man was captured. “And this is something where he should have taken that into consideration and just come in off the building.”
Some people wondered if the Republican presidential nominee was at home in the tower Wednesday. He was actually on the campaign trail in Virginia and Florida on Wednesday.
Trump himself issued a tweet praising the actions of the NYPD.
Trump’s lawyer said in a statement the climber “performed a ridiculous and dangerous stunt.
“There’s damage to the building and he caused the unnecessary deployment of New York’s finest to protect his safety and the safety of everyone in the building,” Michael Cohen said. “He’s caused the shutdown of traffic on Fifth Avenue. I’m 100 percent certain the NYPD had better things to do. If Mr. Trump were here he’d be thanking law enforcement for the job they’re doing and a job well done.”
The man was expected to be held at the hospital at least overnight for his evaluation. No charges had been issued against the climber as of late Wednesday, but CBS2’s Layton was reported the charges would likely include reckless endangerment.