Man scales 80-foot downtown Seattle tree, hurls apple at paramedic and refuses to come down

SEATTLE -- Several blocks around 4th Avenue and Stewart in Seattle were closed after 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 22nd while officers negotiated with a man  to come down from the top of an 80-foot sequoia.  As of 7:33 p.m. Seattle time, (9:33pm Milwaukee time) he was still up in the tree.

Photos from the scene showed police and fire trucks blocking several streets in the area, as well as growing crowds of photographers and bystanders. The hashtag #ManInTree began trending on Twitter and Facebook as the standoff wore on.

Authorities said the man was not being cooperative and at one point threw an apple at paramedics.

"Officers arrived at the scene, determined the man posed a danger to himself, pedestrians and motorists, and closed several surrounding streets. Police attempted to contact the man, but he refused to speak with officers," the Seattle Police Department said on its online crime blotter.

"During early attempts to contact the man, who appears to be suffering from a mental health crisis, he threw an apple, branches, pine cones and other items at officers on the street below, and claimed to be armed with a knife," SPD said. "Due to the his violent behavior and threats, and the man’s precarious position high above the ground, police are taking extreme caution to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"Once the incident is resolved, Seattle Department of Transportation officials will review the health of the approximately 80-foot sequoia tree, believed to have been in place since the 1970s," SPD said.