Woman Evades Mentally Ill Intruder By Hiding On Roof

Image via Twitter/Venice311

A woman in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles climbed out of her window and hid on the roof of a two-storey building to escape from an intruder on Wednesday morning.

Melora Rivera says that she saw someone break one of the panels by her door and reach in to unlock it; she tells CBS Los Angeles, “Once I saw him in the house, I knew that we both couldn’t be there. I knew that I didn’t want to have a confrontation with him of any sort, you know, not knowing what his intention was.”

So wearing only a flannel shirt, she jumped out of bed and ran to her second-storey window, climbing outside and hiding under an eave. Luckily, Rivera also managed to bring her phone along, and called 911 as soon as she got outside.

Police officers responded quickly, according to CBS, but unfortunately for Rivera, the intruder, reported as 29-year-old Christian Hicks, was on the roof as well, as shown in some of the incredibly creepy pictures taken at the scene. Rivera, however, was stuck there; she tells CBS that it was a 20-foot drop from the roof and she was afraid that the cops would spur Hicks to hide in the same place that she was hiding.

Fortunately, the officers were able to apprehend Hicks in about two minutes. He was identified as a “well-known” homeless person in the area; after bystander Alexandria Thompson posted photos of the incident on Twitter, several area residents identified Hicks, who had, ironically, had the cops called on him just that morning for wandering into the yard of one of Rivera’s neighbors.

Rivera saw this is as an example of the pervasive problem of mental illness.

“I think it’s very obvious for most of us who live around here, when someone seems to be suffering from a mental illness, and to continue to let these people walk around without offering them assistance, to protect them and us. That, I think, is the heart of the problem,” she told CBS.

Much of the U.S.’s homeless population suffers from mental illness; according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than a quarter of the homeless people on any given night are severely mentally ill. Los Angeles has a large homeless population, making this, sadly, just one incident among many in a city struggling to find a better solution for its homeless.