A tense eight-hour standoff with a fugitive who threatened to jump from the window of a 31st-floor downtown apartment after an FBI raid gone awry ended dramatically Wednesday with a reckless arrest.
An NYPD Emergency Services Unit officer forced his way from upstairs to enter the residence through a broken glass window and conclude the bizarre confrontation with suspect Ian Mitchell as a crowd watched. the high-rise drama from the street below.
In a tweet, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell posted a video of the brave detective jumping out of the window.
The suspect had a white towel over his head and his hands behind his back as he was led out of the luxury skyscraper, taken to a waiting ambulance around 4:40 p.m., and taken by the FBI to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. .
A local business employee said federal agents had been watching the building for about a week before the arrest.
“They had been watching for a while,” he said. “They had different cars every day. …I couldn’t get a parking spot. So when I hit the car that was parked there, the lady pulled out her license plate.”
The suspect has been seen around the building for the past two years and appears to have fallen on hard times, the clerk said.
“I saw it very neat, very clean,” he says. “But recently I saw him walking around in normal clothes.”
Documents from the Manhattan Supreme Court showed a pair of open grand theft cases and a warrant for Mitchell’s arrest. In one case, he was charged with a scheme to defraud his unidentified victims out of assets worth more than $50,000 between October 2017 and May 2018.
The second case involved the theft of property also worth more than $50,000 just a few months later, beginning in October 2018 and ending within a month. Mitchell was charged in both cases, with an arrest warrant issued on January 31, 2020.
Mayor Adams arrived on the scene earlier in the afternoon, walking around the crime scene tape to meet with police during the lengthy incident in which the would-be jumper used furniture to barricade himself inside, a law enforcement source said.
“The NYPD is patient,” Adams told reporters as he walked back to his car. “Our hostage negotiators are the best in the business and we will do everything we can to bring this to a conclusion.”
A hostage negotiation team and members of the city’s Emergency Services Unit held fruitless talks for hours with Mitchell, who would dangle his feet from the window whenever he heard a noise, the source added.
Federal investigators executed the financial fraud search warrant at a condominium in the 70-story CitySpire building on W. 56th St. near Seventh Ave. around 8:30 am, according to the source.
But once they got inside, the accused 35-year-old white-collar criminal broke the glass, sat on the windowsill with his legs dangling near the shards, and threatened to jump out.
“Of course I’m surprised,” said a neighbor. “I didn’t know that he lived next door to a criminal. He was always alone. … We usually don’t talk. I just see it coming and going.”
The apartment is believed to belong to a relative or girlfriend of Mitchell’s who fled the residence and remained in the hallway outside with police, police sources said. Pieces of glass continued to fall on the closed street hours after the confrontation began.
Mitchell, who was wearing black socks, black pants and a black shirt, was half hanging out of the broken window when police arrived. Hours later, a helicopter hovered over the neighborhood as police placed a large airbag in the street below.
He finally went back into the apartment in the afternoon, but refused to open the door.
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A man visiting his sister, who lives on the 40th floor, said he went for a coffee and croissant at a nearby bakery and returned to find the building locked. People inside were told to stay in their homes while people arriving at the skyscraper were not allowed to enter.
“To me, it’s the stupidest thing you can do,” the visitor said. “If what they say is true, he is a scammer. He shouldn’t have committed the crime. If you commit the crime, do the time.”
The FBI called the NYPD and Emergency Services Unit officers were dispatched to persuade Mitchell to surrender, police said, and an ESU team began a dialogue with the resident.
“I think if it’s been going on that long, I hope it doesn’t jump,” said the man visiting his sister.
Many in the crowd, their necks craned to the sky, used their cellphones to record video of the man during the hour-long incident.
The Emergency Services Unit received high praise for “protecting life” across the city during a press conference Wednesday night at NYPD headquarters.
“One foot from the 31st floor of a high-rise building in New York City, members of the elite Emergency Services Unit responded there, showing patience, care and commitment,” said the New York City police department chief. York, Jeffrey Madrey. “They didn’t know what that man was thinking, but ESU made the decision that nothing was going to happen to that man today and they kept their word.”