19-year-old man prevents woman's suicide on Easter Sunday

Thomas Stolee saw a woman standing at the railing of a bridge on the school's Twin Cities campus.

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"I stopped and tried to talk to her. I said, 'Can I help you?' And she said, 'Get away from me,'" Stolee told the Duluth News Tribune.

Stolee said he backed away from the woman but continued to talk to her as she straddled the bridge railing with one leg on either side.

Stolee said he told the woman his name and that he spoke to the woman for 20 - 25 minutes.

As he talked, he walked closer and closer to the woman.

Without his cellphone, Stolee could not call for help.

Eventually Stolee was able to get the attention of a couple of passing bicyclists by mouthing the word "help" to them.

While the two alerted campus police, Stolee kept talking to the woman until he was 4 -5 feet away from her.

Stolee said the woman began to move her other leg over the railing and prepared to jump.

"It was go-time," Stolee said. "So I lunged, grabbed her and pulled her back."

Stolee said the woman did not resist and broke down crying.

Campus police arrived just before Stolee jumped to action.

After the incident, Stolee who was off duty as a campus security monitor at the time, called his father, Sgt. Tom Stolee with the Duluth Police Department.

“When he called me, I could certainly detect the stress in his voice,"  Stolee's father said. "There are physiological reactions that go along with something like that. Your heart rate and blood pressure and everything are all going to be up, and you just need to breathe deeply and almost use meditation tactics to bring yourself back down."

Tom Stolee said he told his son not to replay the event over and over.

"It was definitely the most stressful thing I've ever been through," the younger Stolee said.

His father said he expected nothing less of his son.

On a routine run Sunday afternoon, Thomas Stolee, a 19-year-old Duluth Denfeld grad, encountered a young woman who appeared poised to jump from a bridge into the Mississippi River below.

Posted by Duluth News Tribune on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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