The girl was clinging to a bridge when rookie cop Chris Perez saw her during a routine patrol.
“Possible jumper on the York Bridge. Can you notify Pasadena?” a dispatcher is heard saying over a police scanner, according to CBS News.
Perez saw the girl on a 6-inch ledge, ready to jump. If she missed a step, she would have plunged 80 feet to her 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.
Perez noted that if he said the wrong thing, she might jump.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 28, 2015
“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 added.
It took time, he added.
“It was just back-and-forth banter with me and her. ‘Can I come closer to you? Can I talk you closer? Can I pull you over the ledge so we can talk in a safer environment?'” Perez noted. “It was that back-to-back conversation with her that I felt was going so smoothly that I felt comfortable enough to lean over and get her.”
Then she allowed him to rescue 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.