Husband and wife cops prevent suicidal woman from leaping off 16-story building
NEW HAVEN (WTIC) -- Roughly 80 current New Haven police officers have received conflict intervention training. And one woman is thrilled that two officers in particular are among those with the specialty skills.
On July 30, a 24-year-old New Haven woman was drinking heavily on the rooftop of the 16-story Madison Towers. When she told the friend she was with that she was going to leap to her death, he called police, who rushed to the scene.
"How are you gonna help me," she says in a cell phone video she shot while talking to police on the ground. "You're never gonna help me!"
The woman told FOX61 exclusively that the weight of the world seemed to be coming down on her shoulders.
"I was arguing with my father, my sister, my mother, my husband, a couple of friends of mine," she said.
One of the officers engaging the woman was separated from her by a fence, which is perilously close to the edge of the roof.
"I didn't feel comfortable enough that if I reached in, to try to get a hold of her, with my strong arm, that I wouldn't be able to hold her while these other officers tried to come back," said officer Elsa Berrios, a 22 year veteran of the New Haven Police Department.
Just then, Officer Berrios' husband, Officer Elvin Rivera, stepped closer.
"She had stumbled numerous times on the roof," Officer Rivera said of the woman.
She was nearly 200 feet above the ground and teetering from inebriation. But then, Officer Rivera said, he felt like there was a sudden divine intervention.
Photos from the scene of the miraculous rescue:
"I'm still trying to grasp what was holding her from falling off," Rivera said. "It was like there was an angel on her back and it was just holding her."
Other officers went to get the woman ice because she complained of her feet burning from the hot roof surface.
When he was handed the ice, Rivera then went to hand it to the woman.
"When she reached, I saw that to be the opportunity, the turning point in it and I grabbed a hold of her arm," said Officer Rivera, a New Haven Police Department veteran of nearly 20 years.
"I'm very thankful that you guys were there and you were working together because you guys are a great team," the woman said to the husband and wife officers.
Police found PCP in the woman's back pack.
Officer Rivera is no stranger to sorting potential leads from buildings.
Last year, he received an honor for saving another person's life. That person threatening to jump from a three-story building. Officer Rivera and the gentleman actually did go over the edge and fell to the second floor.
The distraught woman says her best advice to others who are contemplating suicide is talk to someone and, if you are prescribed medication, take it when you are supposed to.