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Crane climber shuts down Peachtree
Atlanta Journal Constitution ^ | 05/26/05 | By MIKE MORRIS , BILL MONTGOMERY, BILL TORPY

Posted on 05/26/2005 9:43:46 PM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken

Crane climber shuts down Peachtree
Man identified as murder suspect from Florida

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/26/05

The sister of a Florida murder suspect perched 350 feet above a Buckhead intersection pleaded for her brother to surrender this afternoon.

Tawana Roland, who said she is the younger sister of 41-year-old Carl Edward Roland, appeared at the condominium construction site after receiving a call from detectives.

Carl Roland
John Spink/AJC
A man identified as Carl Roland stands atop a crane high above Buckhead as police officers try to talk him into coming down.

Atlanta police initially escorted her to the crane but soon asked her to return home and wait for them to call her.

Roland did not leave. Instead, she began trying to signal her brother atop the crane by reflecting sunlight off a large hand mirror she borrowed from Genesis Hair Art, a salon at the corner of Buckhead Avenue and Bolling Way.

"Sugarfoot, it's your baby sister, please come down," screamed Tawana Roland, visibly upset.

"Does anybody have a megaphone around here," she implored passersby.

The southwest Atlanta resident said she has not seen her brother in eight years.

"It took me eight years to talk to him because I did not know where he was," she said.

Atlanta police continue to play a waiting game the murder suspect, who ascended the crane more than 24 hours ago.

At a press conference today, Police Chief Richard Pennington said negotiators have made it clear that police will allow Roland to turn himself in.

"We have assured him of that," said Pennington of the Clearwater, Fla., resident suspected in the slaying of his former girlfriend, 36-year-old Jennifer Gonzalez. The woman's badly beaten body was discovered Tuesday afternoon in a retention pond near her home in Oldsmar, Fla.

Peachtree Road remained closed in both directions from Pharr Road north to West Paces Ferry.

"We're not in any rush, and he's not a threat to anybody other than to himself," said Atlanta police Sgt. John Quigley.

Pennington said Roland confronted a construction worker Wednesday afternoon at about 4:30 p.m., saying he had "already broken the law and hurt someone" and instructing the man to "get out of the way."

Roland then took the crane elevator to the 25-story-high platform adjacent to the rising skeleton of condominiums.

Police negotiators climbed the crane and tried throughout the cool, 50-degree night to talk Roland down.

"He's been wavering back and forth between taking a plunge and possibly coming down in a safe manner," Quigley said.

Police say Roland is armed with a knife but had not made any demands or threatened anyone.

Quigley said police are "hoping that he gets to a point where he gets hungry, thirsty or uncomfortable or something that makes him come down under his own power."

Other than a police jacket, Roland has not accepted offers of aid, including food and water, said Pennington.

"He's very tired and hungry and I'm sure he needs water as well," Pennington said. "When he falls asleep we sound sirens [to wake him], we don't want him to fall. .... He's probably walking [around on the platform] to stay awake, but the sun is working on him as well."

According to police records, Roland, listed as being 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 243 pounds, has no felonies on his record in Florida. He was arrested there in 2000 for disorderly conduct, in 2001 for battery, and in 2004 for driving under the influence.

Police have located Roland's silver Toyota 4Runner outside a nearby Barnes & Noble book store.

Pennington said police are trying to locate relatives, including at least one in the Atlanta area. He would not name the relatives or say where they lived.

The crane is being used in the Trammell Crow Residential's construction of the 19-story Ovation condominium, part of the Buckhead Plaza complex at the southwest corner of Peachtree and West Paces Ferry roads.

Trammell Crow construction supervisor Joe Ackerman said the crane the man is on is about 25 stories high.

"I have to think he'll come down. It seems illogical for him to sit out there all night in the cold without sleep and then jump," Ackerman said. "But that's if you're thinking logically, and we have no way of knowing how logical he is."

James Lake, who works in the area, said he wanted to send a message to Roland that said "you don't deserve any attention, you don't deserve all this trouble."

"It's just ridiculous, said Lake. "I don't believe he deserves to live. This is a person who has brought a city to its knees for a long time."

Asked by reporters if he was being too harsh, Lake replied, "I'm working on the assumption that he did murder his ex-girlfriend and I believe in an eye for an eye. He just doesn't deserve this notoriety."

As businesses along the closed portion of Peachtree Road continued to lose customers, the scene in the area took on a carnival-like atmosphere.

Tolga Akdogu, the owner of Oxford Street, a men's clothing store, said he had not made any sales all day. He set up his wife's telescope and let passersby peer at the scene above -- free of charge.

Across the street at The Cheesecake Factory, waitress Karla Fairchild stood with co-workers looking up with binoculars at the suspect.

"Only in Atlanta," said Fairchild. "Why are you going to come from Florida, where you did something wrong, to come here?"

Fairchild said she had not waited on a table all day and had lost about $120 in tips.

Fairchild said police needed to call in Ashley Smith, who led authorities to courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols on March 12. Smith is credited with reasoning with Nichols, who surrendered after allegedly killing four people.

"They need Ashley Smith to talk him down," Fairchild said. "Where is she?"

John McDaniels, manager at Nava restaurant on Peachtree just north of the Cheesecake Factory, recalled the scene Wednesday evening.

"Everyone's necks are craned and sore. It was a bizarre strange happy hour here with people drinking cocktails and looking up."

McDaniels added, "We had a psychiatric convention in town. A few of them were here. I asked if they could go up and talk with him."

Baxter Carter, a plate glass installer from Douglasville, said he was unaware of the drama until he arrived at the construction site at 6:30 a.m.

"We're shut down for the day," said Carter. "He's costing a lot of people their day's pay."

Ackerman said there were about 300 workers involved in the construction of the condominiums.

"It ain't so good for us, but he's got to come down eventually," said Carter, who paused and added, "one way or another. I know I couldn't stay up there all night. You've got to sleep sometime."

The man stood up around 8 a.m. and walked around on the horizontal perch as Michael Anderson, a plumbing worker from Smyrna, watched.

"He's moving around too much, kind of bobbing and weaving. It looks to me like he's getting impatient. You don't know what's on his mind," said Anderson.

Within moments, the man sat down again.

"Look at him sitting with his legs dangling; he must be a climber or maybe somebody who is really comfortable with heights," said Pat Redmond, a librarian at the Fulton County Public Library branch on Buckhead Avenue.

Deborah Markham, director of a day care and pre-school for 3- to 5-year-olds in the area, greeted parents who came to drop off their children between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

She said the children had not been told anything Wednesday afternoon because the crisis had just started, and the youngsters didn't ask. But she was prepared to give them a simple, unfrightening explanation today.

"The kids are noticing the police cars and the TV trucks and I'm sure they'll ask," Markham said. She said she will ask her teachers to tell them that, "someone is stuck up in the tower and the police are helping him to get back down."

Robert Charles, an employee of the day care center, was frustrated with the traffic congestion and the media attention.

"I'm getting fed up with this kind of media circus," Charles said.

In June, 2001, a man fell to his death from a 200-foot-high crane at a construction site on Piedmont Road after a 20-hour standoff with police.

The luxury residential condo tower is being built by TCRGA Construction II, a limited partnership affiliated with Trammell Crow Residential, which is the master developer for the tower.

The crane was rented from United Forming, Inc. which also provided the crane operator, according to a spokeswoman for Trammell Crow Residential.

TCRGA said the company's main concern is for the event to end without injury or death. Any time lost off the construction job can be made up by working on weekends, the spokeswoman said.

Construction of the Ovation started late last year. The building is expected to be complete next year. The project cost was estimated at $46.5 million.


-- Staff writer David Pendered contributed to this article.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Miscellaneous; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: black; carlroland; crane; criminals; jumper; murder; spectacle
I think he is still up there as I post. This policy of letting jumpers dislocate the activities of the city has to be re-evaluated. We've had a number of situations where a jumper on a interstate overpass has blocked traffic for hours in metro Atlanta. The police have to understand that a) there are substantial costs to the businesses the could be operating normally in the vicinity absent this spectacle and b) terrorists watch activities like this and are smart enough to take note of how easily a single person (or perhaps a handful of persons) can tie up substantial law enforcement resources and cluster people in their cars in bumper to bumper traffic. The crane that is involved must cost an unbelievable amount per day to lease. Obviously this chump is judgment proof. I'm thinking this guy, dehydrated and hungry is going to lose his grip at some point and... ker-splatt!
1 posted on 05/26/2005 9:43:47 PM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken
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To: Wally_Kalbacken

"'Does anybody have a megaphone around here," she implore passerby.'"

Why yes, mam. Right here in my front pocket. Never leave home without it.

***Good grief!***

2 posted on 05/26/2005 9:51:49 PM PDT by This Just In ("Those are my principles, if you don't like them, I've got others" - Groucho Marx)
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To: Wally_Kalbacken

Has he had to pee - or have a 'morning constitutional' yet?....maybe I'll stay tuned just to check his Dockers for evidence.

3 posted on 05/26/2005 9:54:17 PM PDT by ErnBatavia (I don't drink and just looks that way)
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To: Wally_Kalbacken

They should have sent somebody with a scoped rifle to shoot him off that crane within the first hour of the unseemly spectacle, hours ago. Alternatively, a special fire engine with extra powerful pump, to flush him down with a strong jet of soapy water.

4 posted on 05/26/2005 9:54:26 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: GSlob

I agree. Blow him off that crane and reopen the roads. His worthless behind is hurting business and costing the taxpayers a bundle.

5 posted on 05/26/2005 9:56:08 PM PDT by Chef Dajuan (Its a pork fat thing!)
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To: Wally_Kalbacken

"But that's if you're thinking logically, and we have no way of knowing how logical he is."!?!!!!

But we certainly know how "logical" you are, Mr. Ackerman.

6 posted on 05/26/2005 10:00:15 PM PDT by This Just In ("Those are my principles, if you don't like them, I've got others" - Groucho Marx)
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To: GSlob

I agree,although dont understand why they just couldnt lower the crane.

7 posted on 05/26/2005 11:39:12 PM PDT by bikerman
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To: bikerman

I agree,although dont understand why they just couldnt lower the crane.

That type of crane does not move up and down, just radially. The base is built up to the necessary height and the lifting assembly goes on top of that. Just the same, it's damned stupid and irresponsible to keep that road closed for something this petty.

8 posted on 05/27/2005 12:15:14 AM PDT by noblejones
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To: noblejones

It may not lower, but when he get's near the end of it, I'd bet a few quick swings to the left and right might flip him off.

9 posted on 05/27/2005 12:28:22 AM PDT by Lower55
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To: Wally_Kalbacken

Why don't the Atlanta authorities shoot the man with a tranquilizer and have firemen below catch him with one of those huge round stretchers they use when people have to jump from burning buildings.

Be done with it and stop costing Georgia tax payers money. Didn't Jennifer Wilbanks already cost Georgia enough man power and tax payer money.

More proof that imbeciles like this murder suspect are in control.

10 posted on 05/27/2005 7:45:55 AM PDT by SunnySide (Ephes2:8 ByGraceYou'veBeenSavedThruFaithAGiftOfGodSoNoOneCanBoast)
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To: Lower55

It may not lower, but when he get's near the end of it, I'd bet a few quick swings to the left and right might flip him off.

Oh yes; they could certainly give him an "E-Ticket" ride.

11 posted on 05/27/2005 7:58:18 AM PDT by noblejones
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