Warren officers use empathy, training to de-escalate teen in mental health crisis

A tense moment in Warren unfolded as a teenager in a crisis pointed a loaded gun at himself. For responding officers, it was an unpredictable scene as they tried talking down the individual while being prepared for the worst.

"It was a situation that could have gone a thousand different ways, said Officer Chad Rossow, who said the first things he noticed was a kid with a gun pointed at his head. His finger was also on the trigger.

"I don't want you to die. Do you have a mom? Brother or sister? What do you think they're going to feel," Rossow asks the kid in body camera footage released by Warren police. 

Both Rossow and Officer Charles Cobble had just been at a mental health call when another 911 report came in from a good Samaritan.

"He's got a gun and the first time I saw him, he had it pointed at his head," the caller said to dispatch.

As officers approach the 17-year-old, he tells police he just wants to die. "I don't want you to die," Rossow replies. "Do you have a mom? Brother or sister? What do you think they're going to feel."

"I knew he was a kid," the officer said later on. "I knew he was in distress. I have a child, I know what it was like to be a teenager."

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According to teen, he was recently released from a mental institution. In response to the moment, police used an empathetic message with a promise to make sure the teen got help.

"I promise I will personally make sure you're taken care of, "Rossow said. "All you gotta do is put that gun down. It's okay. Put the gun down."

The kid was taken into custody before being taken to treatment. 

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It was a moment of relief for the officers. 

"Huge sense of relief that we were able to get the individual to calm down and relax, believe in us and know that when was going to get some help," said Cobble.

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255. Or text to 741-741

CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.