Iconic water tank in Santa Ana. Courtesy City of Santa Ana


A man wearing a backpack and carrying a drone climbed to the top of a historic, 150-foot water tower near the Santa Ana (5) Freeway Tuesday, apparently threatening to jump, but he climbed down on his own about three hours later.

There was no immediate explanation for why he carried the drone.

But as he sat atop the tower, he began breaking pieces off the drone and threw them to the ground below.

Police were called at 11:52 a.m. about a man dressed in black on the water tower at 1524 Penn Way, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. When police arrived he was about 40 feet up, but eventually he made it to the top.

“We have no clue why he’s up there,” Bertagna said at the time. “He’s sitting at the top, checking out the world.”

The man was dressed in all black with a black backpack, Bertagna said. He had a drone in hand, but was not flying it around, Bertagna said.

An Orange County sheriff’s helicopter was summoned to try to make contact with the man from the air, Bertagna said. Negotiators also crawled atop a ladder from the ground to shout up at the climber.

Nearby Davis Elementary School, 1405 French St., was placed in “lockout” mode while the climber was atop the tower, said Deidra Powell, a spokeswoman for the Santa Ana Unified School District.

“They have the kids locked in while they get whoever that is to come down,” Powell said.

School police said the students will be released at the normal time, but parents will have to pick up their children on the French Street side of the campus.

–City News Service

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