The mystery of Seattle's 'Tree Man': Why is he doing this, when will he come down?

SEATTLE -- Several blocks around 4th Avenue and Stewart were closed around 11 a.m. Tuesday while officers negotiated with a man  to come down from the top of an 80-foot sequoia next to the Macy's department store in downtown Seattle.

As of Wednesday morning, he was still up in the tree.

No one knows why he climbed up there -- or what he wants, if anything.

When police officers and firefighters tried to talk to him to persuade him to come down, he yelled obscenities at them and tore branches off the top of the tree and threw them at the people below. But he also developed somewhat of a following by curious Seattleites, tourists and passers-by.

And if that wasn't bizarre enough, Seattle's "super hero" -- Phoenix Jones -- turned out late Tuesday night to try to help out. He tweeted that he would offer the #manintree a sandwich and a beer to entice him down.

Police and firetrucks blocked several streets in the area.

Authorities said the man wasn't being cooperative and at one point threw an apple and pine cones at paramedics and officers.

"Officers arrived at the scene, determined the man posed a danger to himself, pedestrians and motorists, and closed several surrounding streets. Police attempted to contact the man, but he refused to speak with officers," the Seattle Police Department said on its online crime blotter.

"During early attempts to contact the man, who appears to be suffering from a mental health crisis, he threw an apple, branches, pine cones and other items at officers on the street below, and claimed to be armed with a knife," SPD said. "Due to the his violent behavior and threats, and the man’s precarious position high above the ground, police are taking extreme caution to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"Once the incident is resolved, Seattle Department of Transportation officials will review the health of the approximately 80-foot sequoia tree, believed to have been in place since the 1970s," SPD said.