Chris Perez had only been on the South Pasadena Police force for a year when he became faced with an unthinkable situation: While on a routine patrol, he got an alert from a dispatcher…
“Possible jumper on the York Bridge. Can you notify Pasadena?” He heard on the police scanner. Perez arrived at the bridge, where he found a 12-year-old girl standing on the 6-inch ledge. She was ready to jump.
If Perez said or did the “wrong” thing, the girl would fall 80 feet to her possible death.
“I walked up to her calmly. I literally didn’t even start talking to her until I made it to the sidewalk and just asked her what was happening, what was going on,” Perez told CBS News.
He began to talk to her — but most importantly he began to listen. We’ve shared stories before about cops helping the homeless or nabbing the bad guys, but typically situations this delicate are reserved for social workers and family.
“She told me she was upset by a group home that she was living at, and that’s why she ran away. She was telling me they treated her poorly and badly and would lock her in a room every time she was bad,” Perez said.
Second-by-second, inch-by-inch, Perez came closer and closer. Eventually, the girl let him save her.
“I grabbed a hold of her arm, and I wrapped it around my neck and grabbed her body and bear hugged her and dragged her over,” Perez said.
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