Police looking for man who jumped into White River to elude officers

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Metro police are on the lookout for a man who made a dangerous jump off a downtown bridge Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency crews surrounded part of the White River downtown fearing the worst - a man possibly caught up in the current. That's because around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon two Metro officers riding bicycles downtown reported a man who crossed their path make a drastic move to avoid contact.

"Once he saw our bike unit he actually jumped into the river," IMPD Downtown District Commander Phil Burton said.

The daring jump happened on the Washington Street bridge. Once in the water, officers noticed the man frantically trying to stay afloat and called for backup. Not only did firefighters quickly respond, but so did their water rescue team.

The recent rain has the river higher than usual with currents moving fast. A danger sign warns that recirculating currents below the dams have trapped and drowned people. There is even an illustration on the sign showing how the tragedy can occur.

"It didn't seem like he was swimming too well," said Burton.

After learning the bridge jumper made it to dry land, a metro K-9 unit searched the banks of the river, but no had luck finding him. Police did find the man's identification, so they know exactly who he is.

"So he actually came out, he was out of breath. So we are still going to try to search for him. We know who he is. We know the homeless camp where he stays at under one of the bridges," Burton said.

Learning his name led to a warrants check, where officers uncovered the man who jumped is actually wanted on a warrant for drug possession. They originally thought the man who fled was someone they are looking for as part of a sexual assault investigation.

Still, IMPD has questions about why the suspect made the daring jump Tuesday afternoon.

"We do want to talk to him about this particular incident," Burton said.

Although the suspect did get out of the river and away from police, officers have been warned to be on the lookout for him. Police warn people to stay out of the White River, especially after heavy rainfall when the current is even more unpredictable.

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