COLUMBUS, Ohio — A dramatic and emotional body camera video released Monday shows four Columbus Police officers racing to save a 17-year-old, from an apparent suicidal jump off a bridge.
A month later, those officers spoke exclusively with ABC 6/FOX 28 on Monday.
The video, captured the night of March 20th, shows the unidentified girl dangling her hands and feet from the edge of the Greenlawn Avenue bridge, hanging over the Scioto River. As officers sprint towards her, the girl sobs and tells them “no.”
Two officers, Kenneth Kropp and Anthony Sebastiano, reached the girl first and secured her arms. Two more officers raced up and helped to pull the teen back over the railing to safety.
“I thought she was gone, honestly. She was so close,” recalls Officer Kropp. “She was picking one hand up of the railing, then the other.”
“Thankfully we had four officers there,” says Sebastiano. “I just feel blessed to be put in that situation. I took this job to help people, and that was obviously a great opportunity to help someone in need.”
Suicide prevention professionals agree with that assessment.
“It shows me that they care about their community,” says Hannah Thompson, who supervises the suicide prevention hotlines for North Central Mental Health Services in Columbus. “It’s really wonderful to see someone in that crisis get the help they deserve. The police were there to get her to safety.”
Both officers also said they responded to the suicide call that night, on a personal level.
“When I’m heading to a run, regardless of what it is, I always think ‘that’s my brother, my sister, my father’ — it’s somebody,” says Officer Kropp. “And absolutely I imagined, ‘what if it was my child?’”
North Central Mental Health Services provides a general suicide prevention hotline, (614) 221-5445, and specific hotlines for teenagers and the elderly population.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.