NEWARK (CBSNewYork) – Two police officers are being credited with rescuing a 13-year-old boy from the ledge of a third-floor fire escape where the youth was reportedly threatening to jump on Monday.
Newark Police Sergeant A. Barbosa and Officer Shaquille Johnson, of the Community Focus Team responded just before 5 p.m. to Youth Consultation Services at 284 Broadway where the boy had locked himself into a common area and then climbed out to hang onto the outside of a chain-link fence above the street.
They were able to rescue him and worked hard to calm him down, reports CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.
Barbosa spoke to the teen while Johnson grabbed him and pulled the boy back to safety.
Newark Officers Rescue Distraught 13-Year-Old From Fire Escape
“He just wasn’t happy about something going on in his life right now,” said Johnson. “We’re just talking to him let him know that we’re here for him, nothing else, don’t pay attention to anybody else, just you and us.”
The teen was later taken to University Hospital for evaluation.
All Newark police are trained to de-escalate crisis situations, but this case was the first time these officers had dealt with a suicide attempt of someone so young.
The Centers for Disease Control released a new report that found the rate of suicide deaths among 10 to 14 year olds had nearly tripled in a 10 year period. There is no concrete reason why.
“It was a physical relief and a mental relief, and hopefully he’s getting the help that he needs,” said Barbosa.
Officer Johnson grew up in the area and says his heart goes out to this 13-year-old.
“As a citizen and still current resident of Newark, I saw myself basically as a young child who needed help and that what we’re here for,” said Johnson.
The officers say they hope to reach out to the teenager to make sure he’s OK.
“In saving this child’s life, these officers exhibited the type of dedication and commitment that the people of the City of Newark can be proud of,” said Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose. “I believe we can all applaud them as heroes and as invaluable community guardians.”
If you or someone you know is in need of help, there are resources available. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.