Toronto Star

Dec. 21, 06:45 EDT

Woman throws daughters off ledge, jumps

Toronto Star

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A woman hurled her two young daughters over a ninth-floor ledge of the Los Angeles County Court building, then jumped to her own death, authorities said.

The girls, aged six and eight, were taken to a hospital, where they died in the emergency room. The woman, who was in her 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Their bodies were found on a fourth-floor ledge.

It wasn't clear what prompted the woman's actions, police Lieut. Horace Frank said. The woman had been in the court building earlier in the day with her family in connection with a civil case, he said.

Frank declined to discuss the case but said that after it concluded the family went home. The husband then went to work and the woman returned to the court building with her daughters, Frank said.

Police did not immediately release the victims' names. They plunged to their deaths at about 5:30 p.m.

''I was going to the ATM and I heard somebody screaming out, so I looked up and there was a woman standing on the ledge,'' said Christina Brown, who works in a county assessor's office in the building.

Witnesses who saw the woman on the building's cafeteria ledge contacted authorities, and a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy tried to talk her down.

''He engaged in crisis intervention, in an attempt to console the female to not commit suicide, he tried to talk her back into the ledge, into the building. As he's speaking with her, she jumped over,'' Frank said.

Shortly before the woman jumped, police said a witness saw her throw ''two objects'' off the balcony.

''That witness had no idea those objects were actually children,'' Frank said.

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