New Haven and Yale Police officers stopped a woman from jumping off a 16-story high rise apartment building in late July.
"At points, she actually went backward-- in a backward motion," New Haven Police (NHPD) Officer Elvin Rivera said. "I don’t know what held her up at that point, but I believe it was a guardian angel."
Rivera and his wife, NHPD Officer Elsa Berrios, were part of the group that prevented the emotionally disturbed woman from taking her own life.
"We all had our part which helped resolve the situation," Rivera said.
"Empathy," Berrios said. "That’s how I could describe it."
Berrios was working with a rookie cop when she responded to 111 Park Street in the early afternoon of July 30.
"They were already engaged on the rooftop with this 24-year-old female who was actually standing on a two-foot ledge," Berrios said.
As the only female officer there, Berrios stepped in to negotiate.
"We talked in English," she said. "We talked in Spanish. We talked about religion, family and continuously I was just pleading with her not to do it."
Police said the woman had chugged a bottle of wine.
"She went back and forth on the rooftop stumbling," Rivera said.
The woman mentioned to Berrios that her feet were on fire.
"I heard her complaining about her feet were burning, her hands were burning," she recalled. "I said, 'I’m going to see if I can get some ice'."
While another officer went looking for ice, Rivera started speaking with the woman.
"I kept trying to tell her to please hold on to the fence," he said. "That she was important, that she was loved, that God loved her."
Once an officer brought Rivera the bucket of ice, a Yale Police body camera captured the moment nearly 35 minutes into the negotiation when officers rushed in to pull the woman to safety.
"I extended my arm and she came a tad bit little bit closer to me," Rivera said. "At which point I quickly was able to reach out and grab a hold of her arm and pull her into closer to my body and I held on to her."
Police have since had two reunions with the woman they rescued
"And what she said and always was still on my mind was that 'thank you for not giving up on me,'" Berrios said.
Police said there is no blueprint to saving a suicidal person. About 80 NHPD officers, including Berrios and Rivera, are members of the crisis intervention team. Department wide training is a future goal, police said in press release.