Sheriff's Deputy Stop Suicidal Inmate From Jumping at LA Jail

The inmate asked to attend a group therapy session before trying to jump off the stairs

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy saved an inmate's life after they say he attempted to commit suicide at an LA jail last week by jumping off a flight of stairs 20 to 25 feet above the ground. 

Deputy Clarissa Torres was hailed as a hero after stopping an inmate from jumping off the upper tier of a flight of stairs and pulling him to safety on June 22 at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

"We just did our job that day," Torres said.

The inmate asked to attend a group therapy session and on his way there, deputies said he climbed head-first over the railing of the stairs and lunged forward in an attempt to jump off the upper tier.

Surveillance video showed Torres, who is described as small-statured, immediately grabbing the inmate's wrist as he let go of the railing and holding on to him as he dangled from the second floor. With the help of other jail personnel, the inmate was lowered to safety.

"Contrary to a lot of people's perceptions right now, as peace officers we all want to do a great job," Torres said. "We sign up for the job for a reason and that's to protect life, whosever that may be."

Their quick thinking and actions saved the inmate from any injuries.

"He actually wouldn't speak to me - nope, none of that," Torres said.

Deputies at the county jails regularly face life-and-death situations, from jail fights to attacks with bodily fluids.

Since the incident last week, fencing has been installed around the railings in all the "high observation" cells.

The Twin Towers Correctional Facility houses 2,400 mentally ill inmates, more than any other jail facility in the United States.

John Cádiz Klemack contributed to this report.

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