West Columbia police officer called hero after saving man from j - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

West Columbia police officer called hero after saving man from jumping off bridge

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

West Columbia police officer Will Norris was working a vandalism case on Meeting Street on a Saturday in November when something more pressing suddenly came up.

A cabbie notified the four-year veteran of the department that there was a man on the bridge looking to jump.

Norris quickly made his way over to the Gervais Street bridge with his dashcam recording the trek toward Columbia. At first, Norris missed the man to his left as he was partially hidden by a light post. But a quick U-turn and help from a runner pointing out the man allowed Norris to pull up and approach the man on foot.

“Just trying to think back to training,” Norris recalled. “You know, I need this, I need that. I approached the subject. ‘Hey, what are you doing?' He said I want to kill myself. And my mind just went blank and everything after that was just pure instinct, reacting to the situation.”

Seconds later, Norris had to act. The jumper began to lower himself off the narrow ledge, but Norris was able to lunge forward and grab the man by his clothes.

“I actually bent over the side of the bridge, grabbed him by his coat and you know by then he had let go completely and I was just hanging over there with him,” Norris said. “Luckily, I'm bottom heavy. So, I was able to somewhat maintain both of our weights on the bridge.”

As Norris held on in hopes of saving the man's life, a driver passing by stopped and ran to help pull both men back over the railing to safety.

“I told my wife that was an angel who stopped because he didn't want any recognition,” Norris said. “You know he was there when I needed him.”

The driver, who remains unidentified, can be seen heading back to his car as other officers arrive to aid Norris. 

So, that begs the inevitable question. Is Will Norris a hero?

“Officer Norris was a hero,” West Columbia Police Chief Dennis Tyndall said. “He did what he thought was the right thing to do at the time. The adrenaline like he said did kick in. And at the end of the day he brushed off and he went home and that's what he does. And he'll do that again tomorrow and so will the rest of these officers here. That's what we do.”

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