Crime

Wanted man on Catawba River Bridge threatened to jump. York Co. cop talked him down

A York County deputy talked a wanted suspect off the Catawba River Bridge on Father’s Day after the man threatened to jump and commit suicide, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.

Bobby James Rawdon II left the bridge in the custody after Det. Walter Beck talked him down after a 20-minute negotiation, Tolson said.

“Beck was able to talk Rawdon into coming back over the guardrail,” an incident report states.

“Suspect or not, we have a job to do and a duty to do all we can to keep people safe,” Tolson said. “Detective Beck was able to talk to the subject and get him into custody.”

Sunday’s incident happened on the Catawba River Bridge that is part of U.S. 21. Fort Mill is on the north side of the bridge, and the city of Rock Hill on the other side. Traffic was detoured on the bridge during the incident around 12:30 p.m. Sunday after emergency dispatchers received several calls about a person standing on the edge of the bridge. Police from Fort Mill and Rock Hill, and other emergency agencies, also responded.

Rawdon called Beck by cellphone from the bridge, saying he was going to commit suicide, an incident report states.

“When I got the call I knew I had to get on the side of that bridge and get him the help he needed,” Beck said. “No matter what he did, there’s a chance for him to redeem himself, rebuild himself, and become the man he needs to be for the people that care about him. I couldn’t let his kids lose their dad on Father’s Day.”

Beck had been investigating Rawdon for domestic violence and arson, according to reports.

Rawdon is accused of assaulting his wife on June 10 while holding a knife at the family home on Orion Road in York while his daughter was watching, the incident report states.

In that incident, Rawdon “came in the kitchen, pushed her down on the floor, grabbed a knife out of the butcher block on the kitchen counter and began yelling (to wife) that she better call the cops,” the report states.

On Saturday, fire departments and deputies responded to a structure fire at Rawdon’s house on Orion Road, another incident report shows. That fire was determined to be arson, according to deputies. No injuries were reported in that fire.

Rawdon was taken to Piedmont Medical Center after he was placed in custody on Sunday, reports show. Late Monday, he was taken to the York County jail where he was booked on charges of arson and domestic violence. He remains in jail without bond.

The actions by police to deter a jump from a bridge is at least the fourth in York County since 2017. In 2017 and 2018 deputies stopped people threatening to jump off bridges over Interstate 77. In March of this year, Rock Hill police were able to talk a person threatening to jump from an I-77 bridge over Dave Lyle Boulevard.

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