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Handcuffed man breaks free from deputies, jumps to his death

As deputies were walking the 24-year-old to a patrol car, he broke free, ran back toward the edge and leaped over, still handcuffed, the sheriff's office said.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Authorities pulled a Nevada man back from the edge of a Northern California casino parking garage and handcuffed him as a suicide risk before he broke free and jumped to his death.

Sonoma County sheriff's deputies called to Graton Resort and Casino near Santa Rosa early Monday found the man standing on a wall on top of a five-floor garage, talking to his wife nearby.

It appeared 24-year-old Geoffrey Wise Bertagnolli, of Gardnerville, Nevada, and his wife had been living out of their car recently, sheriff's spokeswoman Misti Wood told the Press Democrat.

"The deputies started talking to the man, trying to figure out what was going on in his life and what was making him upset," Wood said.

She said deputies tried to convince him to step back from the edge.

After about 30 minutes, Bertagnolli became distracted, and deputies grabbed him off the wall, Wood said. They handcuffed him and prepared to take him to a hospital or crisis stabilization unit.

As deputies were walking Bertagnolli to a patrol car, he broke free, ran back toward the edge and leaped over it, still handcuffed, the sheriff's office said. He died instantly.


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