Pictures detail 'Parkour' sport on Ravenel Bridge prior to arrest

Published: May. 21, 2012 at 10:06 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2012 at 3:37 AM EDT
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Tomberlin and Wright in bond court on Tuesday.
Tomberlin and Wright in bond court on Tuesday.

MOUNT PLESANT, SC (WCSC) - A 21-year-old man captured pictures of a sport he claimed he was playing on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge before he was arrested on Monday.

James Tomberlin told police that he along with 18-year-old Kahrall Wright were playing "Parkour," a sport that involves moving over and around obstacles.

When Mt. Pleasant police asked Tomberlin what he was doing, he told them he and Wright, "[did] things like this for fun," adding, "it was called Parkour."

The sport was developed in France in the 1920s by a man named David Belle. Belle's idea was  to teach participants how to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and jumping.

"You just kind of let yourself over and go for it. It's all about knowing what you can do. Whenever you are in that moment doing it you have to be a 100% confident you are not going to slip or let go," said Tomberlin.

Tomberlin thinks fondly about what it was like to look over the Cooper River from under the bridge. A level of concentration he said he might not have reached five years ago.

"I have Tourettes and I've had Tourettes all my life. It was really uncontrollable until I got into it and I really got into Parkour. I got in to self-discipline, relaxing and eating right," said Tomberlin.

Tomberlin said he showed his parents what he was doing with his free time by showing them a YouTube video. He said they weren't happy about the tickets for "Parkouring" on private property, but they were relieved that it helped him get off his medication.

Tomberlin said he and his roommate were not trying to do anything destructive or trying to vandalize the bridge. He said in the sport anything goes, but he understands why the police were called.

"I understand completely. To be honest I was just really excited, I didn't think it through. I didn't think anyone would see. We were just going in there real quick. Even to that point I do see where people come from, even for our own personal safety I do understand," said Tomberlin.

According to Mount Pleasant Police Sgt. Jennifer Backman, a Charleston police officer saw the two men walking up the bridge with black book bags.

A little later, police found Tomberlin standing on the bridge and Wright sitting on a beam five or six feet below the pedestrian walkway.

Mt. Pleasant Fire Department  and City of Charleston Fire Department crews then responded and rescued Wright.

Police said they found what appeared to be a marijuana pipe in Tomberlin's backpack.  He is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct.

Wright is also charged with disorderly conduct.

During a bond hearing on Tuesday, a judge issued both men a $262 bond, saying, "If you want to play Parkour, I suggest you go to Las Vegas and join Cirque du Soleil."

They are scheduled to appear in Mt. Pleasant court on June 11.  The judge did not address Tomberlin's drug paraphernalia charge.

Copyright 2012 WCSC. All rights reserved.