SEATTLE – Police were trying to coax a man out of a sequoia tree in downtown Seattle after he climbed nearly to the top on Tuesday, disrupting traffic.
Police say someone called 911 after 11 a.m. to report a man in the conifer next to Macy’s department store. When authorities arrived, he refused to speak with them and threw an apple at medics.
“Issue appears to be between the man and the tree,” Seattle police tweeted.
By Tuesday afternoon, traffic was being tied up as officials closed nearby roads as a precaution.
“It is quite a spectacle, honestly,” police spokesman Patrick Michaud told The Seattle Times.
Michaud said police wanted to make sure the man could get down without hurting himself or someone else and added that rushing it could create a dangerous situation. Police said the man appeared to be suffering from a crisis and had been yelling intermittently.
The incident attracted onlookers, and a local TV station showed the incident live all day. It also grew in popularity on social media, with new Twitter accounts dedicated to it and the hashtag #manintree trending.
Negotiators on a fire truck’s ladder were still trying to talk the man down from the tree at 6 p.m.
The unidentified man, appearing disheveled with a large beard, long hair and a red knit hat he dropped during the day, also ripped branches from the tree and tossed them at the ground and at negotiators, who caught many of them.
Seattle Department of Transportation officials will review the health of the tree, believed to have been there since the 1970s, once the incident is resolved, police said.