Tower climber's family: "He was crying out for help and couldn't get it anywhere."

TYLER (KYTX) - A man climbed the CBS 19 tower around 4:00 Wednesday afternoon. He was successfully talked down right at 7:00pm.

CBS 19 employees first noticed the man shortly after 4:00. At that time he was around 50 feet up the 190-foot tower. By the time police arrived, he had climbed down to a height of around 25 feet.

Once police were on the scene, they cleared a rear parking lot around the base of the tower and began negotiating with the man. Almost immediately he agreed to speak with the lead negotiator via cell phone.

During the next two hours the man went back up to the 50-foot height in several climbs of short length.

Tyler police convinced the man to come down from the tower using a ladder from a Tyler fire truck around 7pm. After a false start in which the man climbed even higher, he agreed to come down using the fire truck's ladder, rather than the ladder on the tower.

Investigators identified the man as 48-year-old Claude Allen Lacy. He was taken into custody on a Peace Officer's Warrant and transported for mental evaluation.

"I think he just needed some help," Lacy's close friend Sharla told CBS 19. "He was crying out for help and couldn't get it anywhere."

Lacy called Sharla before he started climbing. He told her he was going to do it but she didn't believe him until she saw it herself.

"And that's when I knew he did it for real," she said.

Police kept Sharla and Lacy's family around the corner. They were told any contact would make the situation worse.

"They didn't want him to see us. They didn't want us to talk to him," Sharla said. "They didn't want him to do anything drastic."

While the family waited they told CBS 19 the story that led up to this. Back in late 2006, Lacy's wife Rotisha died. Her cause of death is unclear.

"And actually her side of the family was blaming him," Sharla said.

It snow-balled into a case where Lacy was shut out of the funeral planning and lost custody of his wife's body.

Documents provided by his family describe the battle he had to go through just to prove the funeral home was in the wrong. Years later Lacy wrote to the ACLU saying the death was "too much" for him to handle and he often thought about "taking his own life."

"I just hope he can get better so he can get some help or something," Sharla said.


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