Officers rescue veteran suffering from PTSD from river - WNEM TV 5

Officers rescue veteran suffering from PTSD from river

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A war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is alive thanks to two Kansas City police officers who jumped into the Blue River to save the handcuffed man from drowning.

Geoffrey Jenista, 26, while facing serious criminal charges, is also now getting the mental help he needs from the Kansas City Police Department's crisis intervention team.

"He's a veteran who had served multiple tours overseas. He'd seen lots of combat. He was suffering from PTSD," Sgt. Michael Ward said. "Somebody that serves our country, you know, bravely like that, we're not going to turn our backs on him. We're going to try to help him."

Ward and Officer Kenneth Secaida responded to a report of a car break-in at a warehouse near the Blue River. This was in the 400 block of East 12th Street in a parking lot.

Police say Jenista was going from vehicle to vehicle before he was confronted. They added that he was acting erratic and agitated.

They arrested Jenista and placed him in handcuffs.

"Me and the other officer are talking. He gets up and takes off running again in handcuffs," Secaida said. "I'm just thinking, 'Don't go in the river, don't go in river.' But he jumps in."

The man began to struggle.

"We saw him go down maybe two or three times and I decided I'm going to have to go in there and jump in and try to at least get him to the other side if I can," Secaida said.

It was easier said than done.

"You're stepping into it and you're sinking," Secaida said.

They had to keep the man's head above water. They also needed other officers to help get him up at the bank.

Jenista was taken to a Kansas City hospital for a mental evaluation, which uncovered his service issues.

After Jenista returned to the United States, the troubled man ran afoul of the law. He was discharged from the Army in April and his life has been increasingly difficult since then. The officers promised to help do what they can for him just like they did Tuesday morning.

Jenista faces charges for stealing and resisting arrest. 

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