BRIGHTON, Colo. — Brighton police credit the stylists and customers at a hair salon with saving the life of a domestic violence victim whose estranged partner is accused of trying to kidnap her from the salon in late June.
The victim's estranged partner, Orlando Handy, punched, strangled and pushed her into a closet the night before she had arranged for a job interview at the Rumors Salon and Spa, an Adams County affidavit said.
She called police and reported the assault after her interview at the salon, but Handy, 22, arrived before officers. Salon workers said they had no idea the victim was in trouble until they heard a bang as Handy arrived and the victim screamed as she ran down an interior staircase.
"It was just an awful scream, like a scream you'd hear in a movie. It was terrible," said Breeana Pritchard, who first confronted Handy on the stairs.
"He is trying to yank her up and she is screaming," Pritchard said as she reenacted the scene. "She’s asking for help and so I’m able to get down behind her and I’m about right here and I’m physically holding this girl by the waist."
By then, other salon workers and customers had run to the front of the salon to see what was happening.
"It was obvious he was trying to get her out of here," salon director Beverly Bartholomew said.
"It was not happening. We were not letting him take her," stylist Kelli Sena said.
About 10 women -- stylists and customers -- surrounded Handy, Bartholomew said.
She said she grabbed onto the door handle with one hand and the railing of the staircase with the other to prevent Handy from leaving the salon as others called 911.
"They basically just built a wall so he couldn't run up and go to the back door," stylist Trenity Tanner said.
Handy began punching the glass door to the salon to escape, the stylists said. He broke through the glass and climbed out the door, leaving the victim behind.
"This guy was persistent and he was not going to stop," Prichard said.
Officers captured Handy after a short foot chase at his apartment. He faces charges including assault, domestic violence and kidnapping and remains in the Adams County jail.
Officers credit the women of the Rumors salon with saving the victim's life and applauded their work with a recognition earlier this month.
The women at the salon said fear didn't set in until after the experience.
"You don’t think about it when you’re doing it. We just knew that he was not going to take this girl out of our salon," Bartholomew said.
"Having so many strong women made me feel stronger, so we knew that we had the support, the backup behind us," salon manager Nanci Odorisio-Shea said.
"He really did choose the wrong salon to mess with," Tanner said.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Latest from 9NEWS