Cops keep man from suicide jump

By Phil Corso

An hour-long standoff ended for a Long Island man on the rooftop of a home in Bayside after he allegedly broke in and threatened to jump, the Police Department said.

John Stewart, 43, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after police said he broke into a two-story home on Francis Lewis Boulevard near 35th Avenue and worked his way up to the roof.

A spokesman for the 111th Precinct said police at the scene were able to apprehend Stewart during the stand-off in which officers tried to talk him off the roof. After he was in custody, the man was then wheeled into an ambulance truck on a stretcher, confined because of his threats of suicide, the NYPD said.

There were no injuries, police said.

Chelsea Jun, who lives inside the Bayside home where Stewart was apprehended, said she was sitting alone in her living room when the tall man barged in with a wound on one of his hands and said he needed a place to hide.

“He said someone was running after him,” Jun said. “He wanted to know if there was a way to the attic.”

Jun said the man called the police from her landline phone, reporting a burglary at a made-up address to distract them. He then started using her bedsheets to tie himself a rope to escape out the home’s second-floor window. When the police called back, Jun said she spoke to them, alerting them to the suspicious activity that brought them to the house.

A heavy police presence was seen on Francis Lewis Boulevard Tuesday with as many as seven NYPD trucks scattered along the street and crowds of onlookers being told by police to stay back.

“It was really good police work,” a 111th Precinct spokesman said. “We are happy nobody was hurt.”

Police said Stewart was spotted walking down an alleyway in Bayside. When officers asked him to stop for questioning, the Long Island man took off, the NYPD said.

His arrest followed a string of crimes Tuesday, which a 111th Precinct spokesman said included three burglaries and two attempted burglaries in northeast Queens. Police said the fleeing Stewart, a Mastic, L.I., resident, was drawn to his hometown of Bayside after being sought in other crimes over the weekend in Suffolk County, which included car theft and assault.

Stewart was also arrested in February and charged with petit larceny after police said he was spotted stealing items, including two saws, from a Home Depot hardware store in Selden, L.I.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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