Gerard Griffiths saved an indeterminate number of persons from being shot, Union City, New Jersey, April 13, 1961. A man who was mentally disturbed climbed onto the roof of an apartment building and brandished a loaded automatic rifle as he stood in the rain clad in his underwear. A patrolman made his way to a section of the roof eight feet below him, but the man warned him to go away. Neighbors were attracted, and one of them summoned Griffiths, 35, priest. He prevailed upon the man, a former mental patient, to lower a ladder and by it ascended to the upper roof. The man retreated, pointing the rifle at Griffiths and warning him to keep away. As Griffiths moved slowly toward the man, trying to reason with him, the patrolman ascended to the upper roof with a blanket. The man then alternately pointed the rifle at Griffiths and the patrolman. The patrolman gave the blanket to Griffiths, and both moved cautiously toward the man, who retreated to the edge of the roof. He then jumped across a three-foot space onto the roof of the next building. The patrolman and Griffiths did likewise. The man continued brandishing the rifle as Griffiths pleaded with him to lay down the gun and take the blanket to protect himself from the rain. Griffiths moved to alongside the man and started to place the blanket about him. When the patrolman also stepped alongside, the man suddenly knocked Griffiths down with the rifle. The man then stepped back and fired the rifle six times in rapid succession in the direction of Griffiths and the patrolman. None of the shots struck them, but two of the bullets pierced the policeman’s raincoat. The patrolman grasped the rifle, which still contained eight bullets, and pulled it away with such force that he fell backward. The man leaped back onto the roof of the first building and started to run across it. A police officer who meanwhile had ascended to the roof fired one shot, hitting him in the hip but not wounding him seriously.
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