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Man accused of child sexual battery talked off edge of Sunshine Skyway Bridge

He was fleeing from officers trying to arrest him on 2018 allegations that he assaulted two boys, 10 and 12, according to Pinellas Park police.

A 53-year-old Pinellas Park man accused of sexually battering two boys was persuaded to step away from the edge of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Wednesday after fleeing from officers who were trying to arrest him, police said.

James Cromwell Humphreys told the officers at the top of the bridge that “he was going to die by suicide by cop” before he was taken into custody at about 12:30 p.m., according to Pinellas Park police.

Investigators say Humphreys repeatedly sexually battered two neighborhood boys, ages 10 and one 12, at his home from September 2018 through December 2018. He bought them gifts, took them to lunch and to the park to try to keep developing a relationship with them, police said.

Police decided to arrest Humphreys on Wednesday. But when detectives went to his home at 8110 61st Way N at about 8 a.m., they said he refused to come to the door. He was under police surveillance when he drove off.

When a police officer activated their cruiser’s lights and siren to pull Humphreys over, police said he refused to stop on 49th Street N, instead speeding through a parking lot, driving against traffic, hopping a curb and running a red light.

The officer ended the pursuit for safety reasons and alerted dispatchers.

Then at about noon, Humphreys’ vehicle was spotted at the top of the Sunshine Skyway and he was found standing on the edge, threatening to jump, Pinellas Park police said. A St. Petersburg police officer and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper tried to talk to until a Pinellas Park detective, trained as a crisis negotiator, arrived.

The detective persuaded Humphreys to climb back onto the roadway, and then he was taken into custody.

The arrest reports note one assault involving a 12-year-old boy took place Humphreys’ home at about 8 p.m. on Dec. 1. A number of children were sleeping in the home, the reports said, and the boy told investigators that Humphreys was intoxicated.

Humphreys, who works with a concrete and masonry company, was arrested in 2007 on a charge of sexual battery of a child under 12 in connection with an incident in Pinellas Park. He was sentenced to 20 months in jail in that case.

He faces four counts of sexual battery of a child under the age of 12, four counts of sexual battery and one count of fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday in lieu of $860,000 bail.

Pinellas Park police ask anyone who has information about Humphreys or believes they were the victim of an assault to contact them at (727) 369-7864.