York deputy saves distraught teen from 7-story fall

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
York County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Runkle

A York County sheriff's deputy likely saved the life of a distraught teen who tried to jump from the seventh floor of the York County Judicial Center.

Deputy Mark Runkle was stationed on that floor, conducting security, about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, when it happened, according to York County Sheriff Richard Keuerleber.

"He was at the right place at the right time," Keuerleber said of Runkle.

The juvenile male had been in a closed juvenile hearing, according to the sheriff.

"The juvenile became upset and left the courtroom," he said.

The youth walked over to the chest-high glass and metal railing that overlooks the judicial center's atrium and started to climb over it.

"He had one leg over the railing, as if he were going to jump or fall" when Runkle spotted him, Keuerleber said.

Runkle had just a split second to act, according to Assistant Chief Steven Diehl of the sheriff's office.

Pulled to safety: Runkle pulled the youth to safety, then radioed for assistance, Keuerleber said.

Two of the sheriff's supervisors, Sgts. Bret Wallace and Bienamino Lopez, were already on the seventh floor and took control, according to the sheriff.

After being saved, the teen lay curled on the floor next to the railing, with deputies comforting and monitoring him. He appeared to be about 14 years old. 

The sergeants tracked down the youth's mother and grandfather and took all three to a private room, where they "de-escalated the situation," Keuerleber said.

Deputies then drove the juvenile to York Hospital, Diehl said.

More:Sheriff's deputies honored for bravery, life-saving, outstanding service

More:Would-be jumper saved by York deputy, local attorney

Keuerleber praised the actions of his deputies, especially Runkle, who he described as a true professional with a military background.

"He does an excellent job," the sheriff said. "This was a good outcome."

Runkle was off duty Thursday and couldn't be reached for comment.

He has been a York County sheriff's deputy since May 2010, according to Diehl, and has been recognized in the past for his work, including with an achievement award in 2017.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.