Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Photo by John Schreiber.

Three sheriff’s deputies were hailed as heroes Wednesday for preventing a suicidal woman from falling several stories at the Gov. George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach.

The incident occurred about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the facility at 275 Magnolia Ave., the sheriff’s department reported. The 44-year-old woman had just appeared in court “regarding a family law matter,” a sheriff’s statement said.

“When the proceeding concluded, the woman was visibly upset and she threatened to commit suicide as she ran from the third floor courtroom and up the escalator,” the statement said.

That’s when a person at the courthouse flagged down Deputy Joseph Bennett in the third floor hallway and reported what he had seen.

“Deputy Bennett initiated a radio broadcast for assistance and ran up the escalator in search of the suicidal woman,” the statement said.

“When Deputy Bennett reached the fifth floor landing at the top of the escalator, he saw the woman had climbed over the five-foot tall glass partition that separates the fifth floor landing from the lobby floor down below,” the statement said.

“The woman was despondent and crying as her body dangled over the lobby floor with only her hands gripping the top of the glass partition. Deputy Bennett immediately reached over the glass partition, grabbed the woman’s left wrist, and held her entire body weight with both of his hands to keep her from falling five stories to the lobby floor down below,” the statement said.

A few seconds later, Deputy Danny Delgadillo and Deputy Ivan Delatorre arrived assisted Bennett in pulling the woman up and over the glass partition to safety.

“Although the woman did not appear to have any injuries, she was evaluated at the scene by paramedics from the Long Beach Fire Department,” the statement said. “The woman was subsequently transported to a local hospital and placed on a 72-hour hold for a mental health evaluation.”

—City News Service

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