Lewis Freshman Killian Emerges as a Hero in Thwarted Hanging Incident at Kohl's

Ashleigh Nussbaum was rescued by her boyfriend and two store employees, but violently attacked the police officer who arrived shortly thereafter, Joliet police said.

Ashleigh Nussbaum, 24119 W. Hazelcrest Drive, Plainfield. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Office
Ashleigh Nussbaum, 24119 W. Hazelcrest Drive, Plainfield. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Office
The following article was written by Patch Editor Karen Sorensen:

When a woman tried to hang herself in a Plainfield Kohl's store restroom, Lewis University freshman Nickolas Killian turned from department store employee to rescue hero.

Ashleigh Nussbaum, 29, of 24119 W. Hazelcrest Drive, Plainfield, raced into the restroom at Kohl's—2510 Route 59—and demanded that the woman who was there leave at about 8:35 p.m. Friday, Joliet Police Cmdr. Al Roechner said.

Nussbaum took a belt, wrapped it around a metal bar above one of the stall doors and attempted hang herself, Roechner said. Her boyfriend, the store manager and Killian—a store employee—intervened.

Killian said while the boyfriend and manager held up her weight, and he was able to get into one of the stalls and undo the belt.

"She was hanging free when I went in there," said Killian, of Plainfield, an 18-year-old freshman at Lewis University in Romeoville. "If it wasn't for the manager and the boyfriend, it would have been a lot worse."

Killian said Nussbaum was clearly agitated and didn't want to be restrained.

"She kept pleading, 'Just let me do it (kill myself),' " he said.

A female police officer arrived shortly after the three got her down, and her presence provoked Nussbaum to attack. Roechner said she raced at the officer, tried to choke her and took her to the ground. At one point, she pulled out fistfuls of the officer's hair, he said.

Killian said the officer tried to reach for her stun gun, but Nussbaum fought her for it. The device went off once, but didn't strike anyone, he said.

Nussbaum was finally restrained when a second officer arrived and managed to put handcuffs on her, Roechner and Killian said. She was charged with aggravated battery to a police officer.

Nussbaum was taken to Presence St. Joseph Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation. She will be booked into the Will County jail later. 

Roechner said Nussbaum has a history of bipolar and schizophrenic illness and has tried to commit suicide in the past.

The officer was also taken to Presence St. Joseph, where she was treated of bruises and cuts, he said.

According to jail and court records, Nussbaum was arrested in 2008 and 2009 on charges of aggravated battery to a police officer. She was also charged with battery and driving under the influence of alcohol, both in 2008. 

Killian said the incident was unnerving, but he was glad he was there to help.

"It was scary," he said. "It didn't really bother me (initially), but then I kept remembering the image of seeing her hanging. ... If she had a gun, it would have been a lot more serious than it was."

ARR67 November 25, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Get better, Ashleigh, it's not worth it.
Crisanne Pahlow December 01, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Sorry, no sympathy here! I do not mean to be mean, but when you try to kill yourself in a public place, you clearly do not mean to end it at all. I feel sorry for the people who had to clean up your mess, but certainly not for you. Obviously this was an attempt to gain attention. That means, you know you have issues, you knew people would save you AT KOHLS. Since you know you have issues, go get some help like a big girl would. OH, And boyfriend, dump her quick, she is too drama orientated (Twilight-yes, immature), and way too old be this way. Get your immature butt to counceling, your too old to not to know any better. Geez. the drama you caused other people because your selfish. shameless. Head out of butt, soon please, for all the people in your life.


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