A Queens man wanted on assault charges spent almost three days up in a tree in Brookville section of Queens. He finally came down Friday evening. Netizens are calling him "man in tree" as the standoff stretched on Thursday and Friday.
Roody Thomas, 44, jumped back and forth between a tree and his home on Friday before police took him into custody. He hatched a bird-brained scheme to avoid arrest â by shimmying up a tree and refusing to come down, reported New York Post.
Thomas climbed the tree following an argument with his mother. Cops were called to a two-story Springfield Gardens home on 145th Ave. near 225th St. about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday after Thomas argued with his family and threatened his mother, authorities said.
Days-Long Standoff with Cops
But when officers knocked on the door, Thomas escaped onto the roof of his home and then climbed into a nearby tree, where he perched on a cluster of branches about 30 feet in the air for more than 48 hours, according to The New York Times.
Police had been working around the clock to get him to come down, using sirens, drones and negotiators, but nothing worked, CBS2 reported. Cops blocked off traffic as authorities and neighbors tried to coax him down offering beer and rum as an incentive, reported New York Daily News.
"Now the world is watching!" Thomas screamed on Thursday evening.
"My name is Roody Thomas... I currently have a lawsuit against NYPD, DOC, Rikers Island," Thomas said from the tree.
That lawsuit filed in 2013 claimed Thomas was assaulted by a captain and as many as 10 other officers. The case was allowed to continue at the time, but there were issues locating Thomas, who friends say often climbs the tree and behaves erratically, reported CBS2.
Officers eventually pulled off of the street, which was enough to bring Thomas out of the tree and onto the roof of his home.
His neighbors say he's mentally troubled and needs help and support.
"Don't tell him he has warrants for his arrest," neighbor Shannon Warmington said. "When he thinks he's going to jail, and that's what he thinks now, he's not going down."
"This is something that he does all the time," NYPD Chaplain Dr. Reba Perry said, according to ABC News. "He gets in the tree. It's not unusual for him to be in the tree. He's from Haiti. They climb trees."
The "Tree Man" Faces Mental Health Issues
Thomas was also wanted for punching his 50-year-old girlfriend on Sept. 30 as the two sat in a car on Merrick Blvd. near 225th St.
After coming down from the tree, Thomas said he would agree to go to a local psychiatric center. Police then will determine if he will be charged with harassing his mother and punching his girlfriend.
Thomas has six prior arrests on charges of assault, criminal mischief, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and New Jersey authorities arrested him on a fraud charge in July 2018.