A Los Angeles woman had a terrifying encounter with a mentally ill homeless man who entered her home and forced her onto her roof on Wednesday morning.
Reports say that Melora Rivera fled to her roof after a man, now identified as 29-year-old Christian Hicks, entered her home.
“He managed to break one of these panels and reach in to unlock the door,” Rivera said to CBS Los Angeles. “Once I saw him in the house, I knew that we both couldn’t be there. I knew that I didn’t want to have a confrontation with him of any sort, you know, not knowing what his intention was.”
Wearing only a flannel shirt, Rivera was in bed when Hicks entered her home. The man was pursuing her when she fled to the roof, but she was able to grab her phone and call 911. Rivera knew that she had no option other than waiting for the police to arrive because of the large drop off the roof.
“The drop is, I would guess, more than 20 feet,” said Rivera. “So there was no safely jumping off the roof or coming down from the roof at that point.”
Not long after she called, police officers surrounded the house.
“It was my biggest fear was that he was going to be forced by the cops to come hide in basically the same place I was hiding,” said Rivera.
Rivera, an actress known for her role in the movie “Sparkle” alongside Whitney Houston, was quickly helped down from the roof by the fire department, and once pictures of the incident made their way onto social media, neighbors and community members identified Hicks, a known homeless man. Some say they have seen him wandering in their yards before. Rivera says the she hopes this incident will bring to light the issue of homelessness and mental illness.
“I think it’s very obvious for most of us who live around here, when someone seems to be suffering from a mental illness, and to continue to let these people walk around without offering them assistance, to protect them and us,” Rivera said. “That, I think, is the heart of the problem.”
As for Hicks, he has been charged with burglary and is being held on $50,000 bail.