Officers, firefighters save 13-year-old girl threatening to jump off bridge in Sunnyvale

A group of officers and firefighters in Sunnyvale are being heralded as heroes this week after saving a 13-year-old girl, threatening to jump off a bridge. It happened on the morning of New Year’s Eve, just after 1:15 a.m.

First responders rushed to the pedestrian bridge which crosses the Lawrence Expressway near Highway 101, after the young girl called 911. Sunnyvale DPS officers say she climbed the bridge's fence and was standing on the edge of the walkway.

"I thought to myself, oh my god, what am I about to see here," Lt. Juan Galazzo as he arrived at the bridge. 

Crisis negotiation officers were trying to talk the girl down when she let go of the bridge's railing with one of her hands. Officers grabbed her arms, as she dangled above the expressway. 

"They were definitely struggling to keep her up there," said Galazzo.

A Sunnyvale DPS officer worked quickly to further secure her with a rescue rope. Sunnyvale firefighters from Station 6 were first to arrive, followed by a ladder truck from Station 2.

"The truck operators, they knew exactly what to do. I put one of my patrol officers in the bucket to secure them, and then they went up and grabbed her," said Galazzo.

The young teen was brought down to an awaiting ambulance and taken to a local hospital for treatment. The girl was also put in touch with resources available to those who are struggling with mental health.

"I saw the look on her face and it looked quite honestly, relieved," said Galazzo. "I can’t imagine my child going through that. If they go through this in their lives, I hope they realize that they’re not alone in this, and they have resources. They can talk to people. They can mention it to school counselors."  

A message Galazzo says he hopes will resonate with anyone who is struggling right now, amid the pandemic.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of help, the National Suicide Hotline is there for you: (800) 273-8255.