A Key West police officer who stopped a man from committing suicide on Christmas Eve has received one of the city’s top awards.
During a ceremony Friday at the Grand Key Resort, Police Chief Sean Brandenburg handed Officer Bryan Tyler the department’s Life Saving Award.
While on patrol Dec. 24, Tyler spotted a motorcycle riding on the sidewalk at 3428 N. Roosevelt Blvd. He stopped and had a brief conversation with the man on the bike. Police blotted out the name of the man in the incident report.
The man, 41, who was listed as a non-resident in the police report, told Tyler he was going through hard times, had a gun and was going to shoot himself, the report states.
“Officer Tyler quickly ascertained that the subject intended to kill himself with a gun he had in his jacket,” said police spokeswoman Alyson Crean.
The motorcyclist began to pull a gun from his pocket, but Tyler was able to take the weapon away from him and take the man into protective custody. That’s standard procedure for anyone who tries to commit suicide, Crean said.
The handgun was a Springfield Armory .45-caliber.
An investigation showed the man, 41, had referred to ending his life by “suicide by cop,” which is when someone attempts to force an officer into shooting him by pulling a gun.
”Due to Officer Tyler’s demeanor, the subject decided against it,” Brandenburg said.
“Officer Tyler’s watchful eye and professional compassion saved the life of a stranger during his darkest hour. Not only that, but Officer Tyler’s skill and professionalism averted a serious threat not only to himself, but to his fellow officers who responded as backup.”
Tyler, 35, has been with the department since April 2018.