ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- Local officials are calling for increased barriers after a 57-year-old woman jumped to her death at the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack early Monday afternoon.
Clarkstown police confirmed Wednesday that the woman committed suicide by jumping from the fourth-floor, said Sgt. JoAnne Fratianni.
The unidentified woman is the sixth person to commit suicide at the mall since 2005.
Mitch Saul, an off-duty Orangetown EMT and auxiliary police officer for Orangetown, was on the second-floor escalator when the woman jumped. He said the sound was like nothing he has ever heard.
People gasped and ran toward the woman, who had a large amount of blood coming from her nose and head, said Saul, a Haverstraw resident.
"I immediately moved her body so I could see if I could help her," he said. "I didn't feel a pulse, but I pulled her body out of the blood and began to do CPR while calling and asking for someone to call 911 and to get a sheet so we could cover her body from view."
Saul, also the owner of SR Video and a producer and singer, continued doing chest compressions until police and medical personnel arrived on the scene to take over.
Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann says while the mall has moved benches away from railings, there's more that could be done to prevent falls.
"I continue to urge the management of the mall to take action and implement measures to prevent additional suicides and accidental falls, also protecting shoppers below," he said.
Hoehmann has been working with the mall for years to remedy the problem. He said he has met with them numerous times and offered a plethora of options.
"I"m frankly disappointed they have not done more to address this issue," he said. "They need to step up their efforts."
Hoehmann also suggested that the mall post signs from the County Health Department that offer help for those contemplating suicide. He's also suggested installing artwork or plexiglass to make it harder to jump from the railings.
"I went to the mall after the incident, and a local family approached me who were very traumatized by the event," he said. "I'm hoping they will help convince the mall to make changes."
Mall officials did not return calls regarding the addition of barriers or banners.
If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.
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