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December 29, 2002

Suicidal man looked before leaping

From: The Trentonian, NJ - 29 Dec 2002

LAURA PELNER, Staff Writer December 29, 2002

A deaf and homeless man threatened to commit suicide in April as he perched atop the 14-story tall letters of the Broad Street Bank building, causing quite a stir below.

Rescue workers spent six hours trying to talk Dave Ross, 25, down from his perch and succeeded only after bringing in sign language experts to communicate with him.

Ross was led to desperation because of many hardships. According to friends, the Colombian native’s girlfriendhad taken the couple’s 4-year-old son and moved to Boston shortly before the incident, and the man was unemployed and could not find a job.

Ross came to America as a boy and was adopted by a Toms River couple. He graduated from the Katzenbach School for the Deaf.

At school he was a straight-A student and received the best athlete honor in 12th grade. After graduation he worked in a furniture factory.

It wasn’t until 2000 that Ross’ took a turn for the worse. He began having nightmares, lost his job and took to the streets, friends said. He also started using drugs and staying at the Trenton Rescue Mission.

Shortly before Ross climbed to the top of the Broad Street Bank building, his backpack with most of his personal belongings was stolen. Some say this was part of his final breaking point, as only days later he went to the roof of the bank building intent on ending his life.

Ross never jumped.

After workers got him off the roof he was hospitalized and friends came to his aid, including a hospital security guard who got suspended for speaking out on his behalf.

©The Trentonian 2002