PHILADELPHIA – A city councilman who is the target of a federal investigation sought psychiatric care Thursday after being escorted down from City Hall's observation deck by the police commissioner.
Commissioner Sylvester Johnson (search) and Mayor John Street (search), who was the first to speak with Councilman Rick Mariano (search) near the top of the towering building, would not characterize Mariano as suicidal.
"I don't think he had an idea that all of this would result from it," Street said at a news conference following the incident that lasted about two hours.
Johnson said Mariano checked himself into Pennsylvania Hospital.
A dramatic emergency response followed Mariano's ascent to the glass-enclosed deck about 500 feet above the street. Police appeared outside the building, while fire trucks, ambulances and passers-by waited across the street.
"We don't know if he was just morose or whether or not this was a contemplation of suicide," said Frank Keel, Mariano's spokesman.
Mariano, 50, recently vowed to defend himself if charged in an ongoing federal investigation of his finances.
He and several businessmen friends received target letters this summer from federal investigators looking into the councilman's financial dealings. Prosecutors typically send the letters to people who are going to be indicted.
"It's a lot of pressure on myself, a lot of pressure on my family, who really don't deserve it," Mariano told reporters at a news conference earlier Thursday. "I feel bad for them, but I'm going to stand up like a man."
The incident at City Hall began around 4 p.m. Street said he went up to the observation deck after hearing Mariano was there. He said Mariano was "very concerned that all of his years of public service are going to be compromised by the current situation."
The mayor left after Johnson arrived, and the police commissioner said he and Mariano rode down on the elevator.
The FBI subpoenaed Mariano's office records and e-mails in the spring. He later refused to answer questions about personal loans and income sources on city and state financial disclosure forms.
"I think the pressure has been building," Keel said.