NEWS | Dec. 6, 2013

USAISR company commander helps divert suicide attempt

By Steven Galvan U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Public Affairs

Some may call it instinct; others would credit their military training kicking in. Regardless of what it was that kicked in that day, the actions taken by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research company commander Capt. Lashawnna N. Ray resulted in preventing an attempted suicide.

On her drive to work during the early hours of a mid-November morning, Ray noticed a young female pedestrian walk toward her as she drove over a bridge at Loop 1604. She didn't realize how that morning was going to unfold until she saw the young lady look over the side of the bridge.

"I rolled my window down to say something to her, but I realized that the driver in front of me had rolled her window down and was yelling something to her," Ray said.

Ray then got out of her car and approached the distraught lady, who was now sitting on the side of the bridge. She asked what was wrong and if she could help her.

"I reached out to put my hand on her shoulder while I asked her if I could help her," she said. "Then she got even more hysterical. She was yelling and cursing at me and the others who were around her telling us to leave her alone and to keep our hands off of her."

Rays left the site and went back to her car to retrieve her cell phone to call 911. As she was dialing, she was told by another driver that the call had already been made. Ray went back to the location to see what else she could do.

As she continued to try to calm down the person, another bystander lunged at the woman and knocked her off of the side of the bridge to the pavement, where she was held until the authorities arrived.

"She did exactly what she was supposed to," said Maj. Shawn P. Gallagher, staff psychiatric nurse practitioner at USAISR Burn Center. "Every situation is going to be different, but the most important thing to remember is to keep yourself safe."

"I'm just glad that I was there and able to help out," Ray said. "I don't know what was going on in her life, but I hope she was able to find the help she needs."