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Police & Fire

Details Emerge, Witness Gives Account Of Palisades Center Mall Fatal Fall

Haverstraw resident Mitch Saul worked to save the woman's life. Photo Credit: Contributed
Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann is working to convince the mall to make it harder to have access to the railings. Photo Credit: Facebook
An adult woman fell to her death from the fourth floor of the Palisades Center Mall on Monday. Photo Credit: File

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 on Wednesday that the woman jumped from the fourth-floor to commit suicide, 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 of the woman's body hitting the floor was like nothing he has ever heard.

Saul, of Haverstraw, said people began to gasp and run toward the woman who had a large pool of blood coming from her nose and head.

"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," he said.

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 takeover.

Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann says while the mall has moved benches away from railings, there's more they could do.

"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 try and 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."

And while Hoehmann concedes if a person is bent on committing suicide it's hard to stop them, there are ways, he said, to maybe give them pause to reconsider.

He suggested the mall post signs from the County Health Department that offer help for those contemplating suicide. He's also suggested using artwork or plexiglass to help 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."

Saul agrees with Supervisor Hoehmann but said we can't live in a "world of netting and banners to keep us safe." 

"I feel for her family, but if someone wants to kill themselves, they are going to find a way to do it," he added. 

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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