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Naked woman climbs up Texas church statue, stays there for hours before firefighters pull her to safety


Jack Howland
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The woman climbed up the exterior stairs of the white stone structure, stepped out onto the roof and clung to a statue overlooking nearby City Hall and downtown Fort Worth.

She stayed there for hours, not wearing any clothes and apparently in the midst of a mental health crisis. Fort Worth police received reports around 8 a.m. of a naked woman atop the St. Patrick’s Cathedral St. Ignatius Academy Building and sent a SWAT team to the scene. And then, carefully and without rushing, negotiators began trying to talk her down.

Police don’t know why she went up there, according to Officer Tracy Carter, a police spokesman. But she refused to leave for more than four hours, as people gathered in the streets below and watched.

Employees at City Hall and the Zipper Building were asked to shelter in place. Surrounding streets were closed. A drone and helicopters flew overhead.

Around 12:25 p.m., first responders standing on a platform at the end of a crane were lifted toward the roof. They reached their hands out toward the woman, trying to get her to take a hold, and she swatted them away.

Moments later, she reached toward one of the first responders, and he forcefully grabbed her by the arm. He and a few firefighters then pulled her onto their platform.

“Oh my God!” one woman could be heard screaming near the intersection of Texas Street and Jennings Avenue.

Similar reactions echoed throughout the surrounding streets, and many people began clapping.

Carter, speaking to the media after the rescue, commended the efforts by SWAT officers, police officers and firefighters.

“You see the officers behind me … they were able to safely take her down without incident. And we’re very thankful for that,” he said. “We do here at Fort Worth PD — we care about the people. And not that we want anybody else to try this, but today it was a safe return.”

The woman was transported to a local hospital via MedStar and was going to receive mental health treatment, Carter said. No first responders were injured.

The dramatic rescue might have captured the attention of Fort Worth residents and the media, but first responders stayed calm and collected to make a successful rescue.

After police received the report of the woman on the roof, the department coordinated with the city to close surrounding streets and lock down some nearby buildings. People inside City Hall and the Zipper Building sheltered in place to accommodate first responders in the area and avoid civilian interference.

City Hall and the Zipper Building were re-opened around 12:30 p.m. after the rescue.

Some streets remained closed until first responders cleared the area. Those streets included Jennings Avenue from Lancaster Avenue to 10th Street; Texas Street from Monroe Street to Throckmorton Street; Throckmorton Street from Texas Street to 10th Street; and 12th Street from Jennings to Houston.

Star-Telegram staff writer Luke Ranker contributed to this report.


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