A South Pasadena, California, police officer stopped a suicidal 12-year-old girl from jumping off a local bridge.
Officer Chris Perez was patrolling the York Bridge area on the evening of Sept. 22 when a group of citizens got his attention and directed him to the suicidal girl, KTLA reported.
The girl was hanging onto the ledge of the bridge with one hand, dangling approximately 80 feet over asphalt.
Police described the child in their report as “sobbing and desperate.”
Perez approached the girl, “developed a trusting communication,” and discovered that she was from a group home in Los Angeles and had fled the facility “for severe emotional reasons, wanting to die," according to a news release from the South Pasadena Police Department.
She said the group home “wasn’t treating her right,” Perez told KTLA.
Inquistr adds that the girl had recently lost her aunt and she wanted to die in order to be reunited with her in the afterlife.
Over the course of their conversation, Perez asked if he could move closer to the girl and she agreed. Eventually, he asked if he could help her back over the railing to safety.
“She was too scared to climb back over, so I leaned over the railing … had her grab my hand, and then I grabbed the rest of her wrist, and she pretty much bear hugged me so that I could pull her back over to the other side,” Perez said.
“Immediately after I pulled her over, then that’s when she started to break down and was crying,” Perez said.
Perez and the child then sat together on the sidewalk and he gave her water. A local fire department was called to help the girl as she had sustained an ankle injury.
The incident scared Perez, but the girl’s safety was more important than his fear.
“I was scared, because the last thing I wanted her to do was to jump, and the last thing I wanted her to do was to try to jump for me, and me not being able to catch her,” Perez said. “But at the same time, my main concern was just getting her to safety.”
Perez has been on the South Pasadena police force for about a year.