Human Chain Saves Suicidal Woman
Los Angeles: A human chain of two Los Angeles police officers and a fire paramedic saved the life of a suicidal woman who jumped from a sixth-floor balcony yesterday evening, January 5, 2006, in the San Fernando Valley.
Fire Station 88 firefighters were already on scene, just before 7 PM, when West Valley Police Officers Mark Mireles, 38, and Ed Marron, 25, answered the call for a woman in her mid-forties attempting suicide at 15720 Ventura Boulevard.
When two officers reached the sixth floor, the distraught woman was lying on the balcony ledge, yelling to firefighters below to move, so she would not hit them when she fell. "I saw her roll herself under the railing," said Officer Mireles. "I dove to stop her, and grabbed legs."
Mireles used a move he learned as a wrestler to lock his leg around the railing. His body was halfway over the ledge. He held the woman with both arms as his partner, Officer Marron, held Mireles' ankle to keep him from going over. Almost immediately Marron was going over the ledge too.
"As I held on to her, her sweats started to slip off and rip," added Mireles. "I got her by the upper body, but I had to make a decision, either let her go or go down with her. I knew help was coming, but it felt like an hour."
Mireles estimated he held the woman for five seconds before Paramedic Paul Schori grabbed Mireles' gunbelt and pulled him and the woman onto the ledge. Schori told Mireles, "It's a good thing you're light." Mireles weighs 230 pounds. Schori easily picked up several hundred pounds of combined weight in one action.
The woman struggled with Officer Mireles the entire time, telling him to let her go.
Officer Marron has nearly three years with the LAPD. Officer Mireles is a 16-year veteran. He was awarded the Medal of Valor in 2001 for pulling a woman from a burning car in Northeast Area in February 2000. Mireles wrestles at the annual Police and Fire Olympic Games.
The woman was held on a 72-hour mental evaluation and sustained no significant injuries from the incident.
Both officers will be available for media at 4 PM, January 7, 2006, at West Valley Police Station. A photo of Mireles is available from Media Relations by request.