Freshman Grant Porter has yet to play a single game for Washington State, but he's already made an impact on the Pullman community. Porter might have saved a man's life earlier this week after he intervened in what police believe was a suicide attempt.
Shortly after midnight, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Porter and his friend Allison Schomburg were passing by the basketball court of an apartment complex in Pullman when, according to Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins, they came across a 24-year-old man standing on a black folding chair with his hands tied around his back and a strap around his neck. The opposite end of the strap was attached to the basketball hoop.
"I was coming back from Moscow, Idaho and we were going back to my apartment," Porter said in an interview Friday night. "We see a man standing on a chair with a rope tied around his neck and his hands tied, and we made a U-turn to go back around and see what's going on. At first I thought it was a joke or a prank to get attention. I didn't think it was serious. But I wasn't going to just drive past without seeing what was going on."
"I said, 'Are you OK? Do you need anything?'" Porter said.
The man told Porter he had been kidnapped.
"But then I looked at his wrists and he had scars on his wrists like he had cut himself," Porter said.
The football player started to wonder if this man in front of him was attempting suicide. He calmly called out to the man and said, "Can we just untie you first before we do anything else?"
Porter talked the man off the chair and then helped to untie his hands. As soon as he was loose, the man thanked Porter and gathered up the chair and the strap and bundled into his car. That reaffirmed Porter's notion that the man had not been a victim of a kidnapping.
"He wouldn't have taken all the stuff with him if it was a kidnapping," Porter said.
Porter's friend, Schomburg, a University of Idaho student, called the police, who arrived to find the 24-year-old man sitting in his car. According to Jenkins, the man told the police that he was depressed.
Porter (6-2, 178 pounds) signed with WSU as a receiver in 2015 and redshirted his first year in Pullman. However, he switched to defensive back this spring and saw some success, recording three tackles and four pass breakups in the second spring scrimmage, and two tackles in the spring game.
"WSU athletes, just like other WSU students, are good citizens in our community and regularly make positive contributions," Jenkins said. "Most of the time those positive contributions don't receive the same amount of attention as when an athlete is in trouble. It's good for the public to know that WSU athletes are good citizens."
Porter said he didn't think much of what he'd done at the time.
"I just thought I was helping a guy out," he said, adding that he never looked at it as saving someone else's life. "But now that it's blowing up and people are saying it saved his life, I can now see it."
This article is written by Stefanie Loh from Seattle Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.