Police coax man out of tree after 3 hours, multiple train delays

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Police Department spent three hours Friday morning trying to get a man out of a tree near train tracks in Magnolia, causing delays for a number of commuter trains from Everett.

According to police, a passing motorist heard someone calling for help around 5:30 a.m. The motorist flagged down officers, who found the man 40 feet off the ground in a tree near 34th Avenue West and Gilman Avenue West.

While a police negotiator tried to talk the man into coming down, the man instead took his clothes off and tied them to branches, according to police. According to police, the was acting erratic, coming half way down the tree before climbing right back up.

The incident caused multiple Sound Transit commuter trains from Everett to be delayed. Passengers, some stuck on trains for more than an hour, were unloaded in Edmonds and put on buses to finish their commutes. The incident also delayed an Amtrak train and a handful of freight trains.

The man eventually came down on his own around 8:45 a.m., according to police.

According to police, the man is suspected of breaking into an ex-girlfriend's house 10 blocks away between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. and attacking her male roommate.

The man suffered a broken foot during that confrontation and was driven to the hospital for treatment only to return to the house again around 5 a.m. to break a few windows, according to police. His ex-girlfriend fled the house in fear, and the man climbed the tree, according to police.

When asked why he went up the tree, the man responded simply, "I like to climb."

He was booked into King County Jail for investigation of domestic violence, burglary, property damage and felony assault, as well as for an outstanding warrant. According to police, he had recently been released from prison.