A man in a tree forced the closure of a section of 5th street in Downtown Santa Monica on Wednesday while police officers and firefighters attempt to coax him back to the ground.

The man climbed the tree just before 10 a.m. and was reported to have thrown branches at pedestrians.

SMPD and SMFD responded to the scene and closed the southbound lane on the 1500 block of 5th street. Traffic backed up on nearby streets and firefighters inflated portable pads in case the suspect fell.

The area is home to an affordable housing development, senior housing, two hotels and the now vacant Fred Segal buildings. The Downtown Expo station is located at the corner of 5th and Colorado with significant traffic running along the street from the nearby freeway exit.

After several hours of negotiation, the suspect voluntarily came down and was subsequently sent to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. The street was reopened to traffic at about 1 p.m.

This is the second time in the past few weeks police officers have responded to a man in a tree. Last week, a suspect was reported to police for acting erratically near the intersection of Broadway and Lincoln. The suspect eventually climbed a tree in the area and was arrested by police.

Within a few minutes of officials clearing the scene, a second man committed suicide at a nearby downtown parking structure. Officers said there was no evidence the two incident were connected.


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