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Police grab suspect after 56 hours atop crane

Police lower Carl Edward Roland from a crane where he spent 56 hours.
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Police arrest a murder suspect who spent 56 hours atop a crane.
Atlanta (Georgia)

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Police on Saturday arrested a suspect in a Florida slaying who had spent 56 hours atop a crane high above an Atlanta construction site.

Carl Edward Roland, 41, was taken into custody after more than two days of negotiators' round-the-clock efforts to convince him to come down, said Atlanta Police Operations Chief Alan Dreher.

Roland ascended the crane via its elevator about 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, walking out on its horizontal arm.

At 12:31 a.m. Saturday, Roland decided to accept an offer of water from an investigator, Dreher said.

Roland slowly edged over to where police negotiators were perched, and they quickly tackled, tasered and handcuffed him before taking him into custody.

It took Atlanta police and firefighters another two hours to remove Roland from the crane, 350 feet above Atlanta's popular Buckhead club district.

Since the narrow ladder leading down could fit only one person at a time, Roland was strapped onto an orange stretcher, wrapped tightly and then slowly lowered to the ground with a cable.

He was rushed to Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital for an evaluation. Dreher said the suspect then will be locked up in the Fulton County Jail while Florida authorities take steps to extradite him to face a murder charge in Pinellas County.

Roland is wanted in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Gonzalez, 36. Her badly beaten body was found Tuesday in a retention pond behind an apartment complex. Authorities said she was seen with Roland shortly before she died. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to return to his Clearwater, Florida, home.

He also likely will face charges in Atlanta in the crane standoff, Dreher said.

During the ordeal, Roland was wearing no safety harness, and authorities said they couldn't position a net or air bag beneath the crane to catch him if he fell or jumped because he was too high up.

The standoff forced closure of a two-block section of Peachtree Road -- a main thoroughfare in Atlanta -- and disrupted restaurants, clubs and other businesses in the busy, upscale area.

Dreher estimated the standoff cost Atlanta police 5,000 man hours. The economic toll on the Buckhead neighborhood has not been tallied, but many business owners and workers complained it cost them two days of income.

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