(Updated) A woman who took a fatal plunge from an upper story of the 360 State parking garage Thursday appears to have jumped voluntarily, according to police.
The incident took place at 3:24 p.m. at the 32-story complex at the corner of Orange and Chapel. The woman fell from an upper story of the parking garage onto the sidewalk outside Elm City Market. Despite a last-minute rescue effort, she died of her injuries. Police believe the fall was not an accident, according to Sgt. Al Vazquez, head of the police department’s major crimes unit.
“We think she jumped,” he said. “We have evidence to believe it was a suicide.”
Vazquez declined to describe what that evidence was, or whether police found a note. He said police have determined the woman did not live at 360 State; they don’t know why she went to the building. Police have not officially deemed her death a suicide, Vazquez said.
The victim was identified as a 24-year-old woman whose last known address was in West Haven.
The incident sent shock waves through downtown New Haven. Dave Andaz, who’s 44, said he was smoking a cigarette in Pitkin Plaza Thursday afternoon when he heard a “shrieking scream” and then the sound of an impact. He said it sounded like a wooden palette hitting the ground.
He walked over and found a woman on her back on the ground. She was wearing a black dress, had long black hair and was holding a big, brown purse. She was bleeding. Her eyes were wide open, but she was unresponsive, he said. She appeared to be breathing a little, according to Andaz.
A passerby urged her: “Come on, honey, breathe! Your family needs you,” according to Andaz. Several people took out their phones and called 911.
Firefighters and police arrived quickly. At 3:40, about eight firefighters surrounded the woman, who was lying on the ground between Pitkin Plaza and the side entrance to Elm City Market. The market sits on the ground floor of the apartment tower.
Emergency responders hooked an oxygen tank to the woman’s mouth and used a machine to perform chest compressions.
They took her away in a gurney moments later, leaving two red shoes behind.
Police taped off a perimeter around the scene, as well as the door that leads from the fourth-floor garage to a stairwell to Pitkin Plaza. Police were reviewing video surveillance Thursday to gather more information, according to Lt. Jeff Hoffman.
posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on July 11, 2013 3:37pm
OMG, sorry to hear of this and sorry that people had to witness it.
Condolences to whoever will be mourning her.
posted by: Sean2356 on July 11, 2013 7:31pm
Such a sad story. Thanks to the first responders who tried their best to help this poor woman. Thats something those poor guys will be dealing with tonight too.
posted by: Atticus Shrugged on July 12, 2013 7:57am
My condolences to this young woman and her family.
posted by: prct on July 12, 2013 8:55am
Thank goodness someone stopped to hold her hand and speak to her like that in her last moments. That is a great kindness.
posted by: Stylo on July 12, 2013 1:04pm
Those photos are pretty morbid and borderline disrespectful to the victim and their family. Is that really necessary?
[Editor’s note: Thanks for your feedback. We tried to photograph the work of the first-responders, while avoiding images of the victim. It was a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the victim’s family.]
posted by: formerNhresident on July 12, 2013 6:35pm
She committed suicide in a public place. I doubt she had any thoughts of respect or privacy for her family or those who had to witness the tragic way she ended her life. There are less graphic and morbid ways to end one’s life in the privacy of one’s home if one chooses to do so. Besides in today’s plugged in world, I ’ m sure someone captured it on their phone.
posted by: robn on July 12, 2013 7:03pm
I hope the NHPD offered counseling to the civilian first responders. That’s tough and their compassion shouldn’t be forgotten.
posted by: Clause on July 13, 2013 2:44pm
I agree with formerNhresident, doing this in a public place, where you put other lives at risk and damage the emotional state of others, is completely inappropriate. This reminds me of the Yalie who jumped off the Empire State Building a couple years ago. If a bunch of school kids had been below either of these jumpers things could have been a whole lot worse.
posted by: robn on July 13, 2013 7:15pm
posted by: jhonn_m on July 15, 2013 10:13am
I don’t think CLAUSE’s comments were at all harsh. More matter-of-fact. I have nothing but sympathy for the young woman, as well as for anyone who decides to end their own life. BUT, it did happen in public. And the photos here on the NHI are not all that morbid. Upsetting, yes, because we know what happened and how this turned out, but you can hardly see the victim, nor any blood. All I see is medical responders treating someone. The photos themselves are quite tame and if you put them up without the context of a suicide jumper, they could just as well be of paramedics treating someone for chest pains, or something. This was in public, and this is news. The woman, troubled as she was, put herself in that situation (though I’m sure she wasn’t thinking about that). I think the photos show the story while maintaining a sense of dignity for those involved.
posted by: Clause on July 16, 2013 3:03am
Didn’t mean to be harsh, it is terrible when anyone ends their own life. However, people are injured/killed by individuals killing themselves this way. A couple of months ago a little girl was killed in Korea when a jumper landed on her.