Schoolboys keep California woman from jumping off bridge

FRESNO, California -- A 47-year-old California woman was about to commit suicide on Thursday by jumping off a bridge, but a group of boys from a nearby middle school appeared to have kept her from jumping.

The boys are all members of the volleyball team at the Kepler School in Fresno. All are in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades.

They were jogging when they spotted a woman hanging from the Tuolumne Street Bridge, about to fall nearly 100 feet to the railroad tracks below.

Their shouts appeared to have been a factor in her changing her mind.

"She was like, one hand, and feet hanging already," says Brandy Ezell, one of the boys.

They ran to tell their coach Elliot Murray.

"They told me there's a lady trying to jump off the bridge -- all 12 of them screaming, 'Call 911', 'Call 911,'" Murray said.

Murray saw the woman dangling from the bridge directly over the railroad tracks. He called 911 and told the boys to go back up and yell to the woman.

"I immediately told the kids, 'Do everything you can, chant, say 'Stop, your life is worth it,' and they just kept on chanting," Murray said.

"We went up we were there for like ten minutes, trying to distract her," said Elijah Gomez, one of the middle schoolers.

The woman managed to pull herself up to safety and police arrived.

"We contacted her, found out she was actually trying to commit suicide, and the officer placed her on a mental health evaluation hold for 72 hours to be evaluated by mental health workers," said Lt. Mark Hudson of the Fresno Police Department.

The woman is identified only as a 47-year-old Hispanic female. Coach Murray believes if not for the boys on his team, she would have let go.

"She took a glance and hearing those kids, it registered to her, 'I can't do this in front of them,'" he said.

Student Joshua Velasquez said he feels he and the others helped save her life.

"I feel like we distracted her long enough," Velasquez said.

Our sister station KFSN in Fresno cannot confirm why the woman wanted to jump or if the boys' efforts stopped her, but it was an emotional event in their young lives.

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