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Las Cruces medical school student credited with saving life of suicidal man

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- As 24-year-old Shaha Aziz was driving home from the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine earlier this month, she said a man caught her eye on the Interstate 25 overpass.

“I was driving and I saw him just standing and pacing the edge," the first year medical student told ABC-7. "I thought, 'Let me just go check.'"

She called out to the man, but she said he ran away from her. Thankfully, she said he got down from the highway overpass. After her repeated attempts to contact him, she was finally able to approach him.

"He verbally told me, 'I didn't take my medication today. I was going to jump off. I was going to jump off the edge,'" she explained.

Aziz said the man allowed her to talk to his sister over the phone. She advised Aziz to call the police, who "handled the situation well," Aziz said.

"I did what anyone should have done," she told ABC-7. "Now that I think about it, there was definitely things I would have done first or later. But I’m glad that it ended up well and he got the help he needed.”

Between 2017 and 2019, officers responded to an average of 899 calls for crisis intervention team assistance per year, according to the Las Cruces Police Department. In 2021, officers are project to respond to 2,000 CIT calls.

Anyone in Doña Ana County experiencing a mental health crisis is encouraged to call the Crisis Triage Center, which accepts voluntary admissions 24/7. For more information, call (575) 449-8159.

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

Tom Scott

Tom Scott is ABC-7’s news operations manager for our New Mexico mobile newsroom.

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