September 23, 2015 South Pasadena, Ca. Officer Chris Perez who has worked for the South Pasadena Police Department for a little more than a year was on routine patrol when he was flagged down by concerned citizens. They reported to him that they saw a young girl readying herself to jump from a bridge, how he handled the situation was beyond his experience.
Perez exited his vehicle and without exciting the young girl he involved her in conversation born of concern not just for the situation transpiring but for her as well.
Perez could see the girl holding the railing of the bridge by one hand and was prepared to jump to the pavement below some eighty feet.
Calmly Perez spoke with the child and found out that she was from a group home in the Los Angeles area and had run away from the place for emotional reasons. He asked her if he could could come closer so that they could talk better and she allowed it.
The young girl was just crying and holding on to the railing as Perez continued to engage her in dialog. The young girl told the officer that she was scared and she wanted help.
“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.” he told KTLA.
“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, But at the same time, my main concern was just getting her to safety.” he told KTLA.
He then sat with her on the sidewalk and spoke with her calmly and gave her water to drink. She complained of an ankle injury and Perez contacted the local Fire Department to come and render her assistance for her injury.
The girl had told Perez that she had wanted to be reunited with her only family member an aunt.
Perez told CBS Local Los Angeles “I do have nephews, and nieces,” Perez said, “one who is 7, the other who just turned 2. So I can’t relate, that, oh my Lord, this young indivual, this juvenile, is on the other side [on the bridge] what could possibly be going wrong in your life to make you want to do something like this?”
She “is safe tonight because of Officer Perez’s calm, professional actions,” police officials said. They also credited the successful conclusion to this near tragedy to Perez’s ability to have “developed a trusting communication” with the child to calm her down.
The young girl was taken into the custody for medical evaluation.
Photo Credit: KTLA.