COLUMBIA — Pockets of crowds congregated outside the new city parking garage at the corner of Fifth and Walnut streets Friday evening as emergency workers responded to a woman who had jumped to her death onto the awning of the garage, according to an email from Sgt. Jill Wieneke of the Columbia Police Department.
Police have identified the woman as Melissa G. Phelps, 39, of Columbia.
A few firetrucks lined Fifth Street between Walnut and Ash streets as people looked up at the garage intently, some taking photographs with cameras and others videotaping with cell phones.
Police received a call at 4:49 p.m. from a witness who saw the woman hanging off the awning of the parking garage, Wieneke said. Officers arrived at the scene at 4:53 p.m.
After reviewing surveillance video from the parking garage, officers determined the woman jumped from the garage after entering it at about 4:43 p.m., according to the email. As of 9 p.m., officers were unable to verify what floor she jumped from, Wieneke wrote.
Before officials placed a white, then yellow, sheet over the woman's body, white EKG stickers were visible on her abdomen. A gash on her left forearm could be seen as her body was moved off the edge of the awning.
Even after her body was covered, her legs and feet, dressed in blue jeans and black shoes, could still be seen hanging over the side of the awning.
An official appeared to be dusting for fingerprints on the black railing at the top of the parking garage.
There were no witnesses, Wieneke said.
An autopsy will be performed Saturday morning, she said.