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Who is the 25-Year-Old Man Refusing to Come Down from a 300-Foot Radio Tower?


He once walked from Tulsa to Dallas then back to Tulsa again.

We are now at day six of an odd standoff in Tulsa, OK, where a man has been holding himself up atop the 300-foot Clear Channel radio tower in Tulsa, Okla.  And now we know who he is: 25-year-old William Sturdivant II.

It is apparently the Tulsa Police Department's longest standoff ever, and they have tried everything to coax Sturdivant down -- from offering food and water, to playing video tapes of his parents -- to no avail. This man will not budge.

But why? Who is William Sturdivant II and what would posses him to take up residence on top of a radio tower for some 116 hours and counting?

Well, as we dig a little deeper, it turns out Sturdivant might have had a rather unorthodox past, in addition to being faced with several serious life-altering events.

According to local Fox23, Sturdivant was recently released from prison in April, where he served time for burglary and drug possession.

Blake Stevens, a close friend who grew up with Sturdivant and played basketball with him in high school, believes Sturdivant is going through a rough patch.

"He was real ambitious about whatever he did," Stevens told Fox23. So ambitious in fact, that Sturdivant's friends assert he actually walked from Tulsa to Dallas and back to Tulsa again. And while friends cite the reason being determination and endurance, police suspect Sturdivant suffers from mental illness. But those closest to the man on the tower have yet to confirm or deny those claims.

But as to motivation, Stevens believes that Sturdivant is preoccupied and feels he has few people in his life who care about him. In addition, Fox reports that Surdivant's time in prison caused him to separate from his own son, while having yet another baby on the way. This, combined with finding out that his mother has been diagnosed with cancer, might have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for the young Tulsa man.

"I just think he's hurting right now,” said Stevens.

Meanwhile, police have tried nearly everything to convince Sturdivant to come down, but just when they think they are making progress, a passerby or heckler will yell at Sturdivant, causing him to retreat into his shell and hunker down on his tower even more determined than before.

"We've sent the bucket up many times to go next to him, and he moves. He threatens to jump if we come closer," said Perkins.

The concern is the Sturdivant's body will not be able to hold out much longer.

But the police are remaining steadfast. "We need to be patient. This gentleman's life is worth something. This is what we're here for. This is our job,” said Perkins in another Fox23 report:

"The longest anyone has found so far has been about five hours, so this is a pretty unprecedented standoff,” says Perkins.

Right now, negotiators are using every possible way to safely coach Sturdivant off the tower.

"We did give him some water and a cell phone. We've used a number of ways to communicate with him,” says negotiator Tom Milburn.

"We've played tapes of his family addressing how much they care and how much concern they have and they want him to be safe,” says Milburn.

Perkins says they’ve even consulted with other negotiation teams around the country as well.

"We've bounced things off of people. We've asked them if they have any other ideas and they say we're pretty much right on path, and we've used pretty much all the strategies they can come up with based on his profile,” he says.

And Milburn thinks that offering food and water to the clearly disturbed young man while he is on the tower will only recharge Sturdivant for the even longer-haul:

"In the sense that he's in great danger as long as he's up in the tower, what we want to accomplish is to maybe leverage his thirst to get him to come down,” says Milburn.

The special operations team has been in constant contact with the medical director for the state of Oklahoma.

He tells them the strategy that is being used right now of telling Sturdivant that it’s time to come down to get water and food is exactly what should be done.

By refueling him up on the tower it will only make the process longer.

And Tulsa's NewsOn6 brings us the report on day six on the tower:

Whatever the reasons are behind this bizarre and drastic move, one wonders what Sturdivant hopes to gain by remaining on the tower and how this will all end.


Authorities were finally able to able to convince Sturdivant to come down from the tower at around 6:30 p.m. local time. IBT reports:

25-year-old William Sturdivant II, had sat on the Clear Channel radio tower since 11a.m. on Thursday before he finally stepped into a bucket attached to a ladder truck with negotiator Tyrone Lynn around 6:30 p.m. local time. It put an end to the city's longest ever standoff that put a retired police negotiator back in action and captivated the nation.

Several times throughout the afternoon viewers watching the live stream of events from local station NewsOn6 waited anxiously as Sturdivant locked arms with the negotiator, shaking hands, and even stepping into the bucket for a sip of water. Several times it seemed that the ordeal would end, yet the saga dragged on until the early evening.

"He started to pass out and I had to grab him to keep him from falling, so for a minute there he was just completely out so I was just holding on to him then he kind of snapped back into it and then we started over again," Lynn told local ABC station KTUL.

"We finally assured him that you know everybody down here was routing for him and that this was a day that he can win and we forgive him and nobody's upset with him and that when we got down we were going to get him some help," Lynn added.

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