A man wanted in a murder case in Texas took a radical step in an attempt to avoid capture, and it was a big one—he jumped over the rim of the Grand Canyon. Rangers rescued and then arrested the man, who was being held for the arrival of Texas authorities.
At about 1:45 p.m. on April 22, the communications center at the park received a report from a visitor about a man who was panhandling at the Duck on a Rock pullout, which is located approximately ten miles east of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Rangers arrived on the scene and made contact with the individual, who refused to provide identification. He then ran from the rangers and jumped over the edge of the nearby canyon.
The outcome confirms the validity of the old saying that it's sometimes better to be lucky than good—the man fell only about 25 feet before landing on a ledge.
Members of the park's high-angle rescue team were summoned and rappelled down to the individual. Given the circumstances, rescuers were undoubtedly already suspicious of the victim, and with good reason. As the team members were on their way down the slope, they were notified by fellow rangers atop the rim that one of the vehicles parked at the overlook belonged to a man wanted in connection with a murder investigation in Texas.
Handcuffs aren't normally part of the equipment needed for rescues on a cliff face, but this obviously wasn't a normal operation. As a precaution, the man was cuffed, his injuries were stabilized and he was then packaged in a litter and lifted to the rim.
Once the victim was safely back on level ground, he was identified as 48-year-old Terrance Black, who was being sought in connection with a murder investigation in the Dallas area.
Earlier on the same day at the incident at the Grand Canyon, police in the Dallas suburb of Plano, Texas, had issued a warrant for Black's arrest. That information included his vehicle description and tag number, and prompt nationwide distribution of those details were a key in the outcome in Arizona.
Black was taken into custody and transported via Department of Public Safety helicopter to Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment of injuries he sustained in the fall. Once he is released from the hospital he will be transported to the Coconino County Detention Center, where he will remain in custody until officers from Texas arrive in Arizona.
According to Plano Officer Rick McDonald, "The Plano Police Department is currently working with authorities in Arizona to facilitate the extradition of the suspect back to our city."
The vehicle associated with the investigation has been impounded by the National Park Service and is being held for the arrival of Texas authorities, who will process the car for clues.