A 3-year-old girl was killed Saturday when the security gate crashed on her at the Rita’s water ice store in the 2800 block of Girard. The girl’s name was Wynter Larkin.
Police say the steel security door suddenly detached and landed directly on the young girl.
“We saw the awning land on the ground, but we didn’t realize there was a baby under the awning until the mother started screaming,” said Tracey Stanford, an eyewitness. “We heard a boom, and all you could hear was yelling and screaming.”
The accident happened during an annual fundraiser for two fraternities. Eyewitnesses say the frat brothers immediately went to help get the child out from under the door.
Police investigators were working it like a potential crime scene yesterday, placing numbered markers next to each of the wall’s bolt holes, in the same way that they would identify bullet casings after a shootout.
They obtained a search warrant and sawed into the wall to determine whether the heavy gate had been properly installed, or whether the bolts were incorrectly anchored. The preliminary investigation found that the lag bolts might have been a few inches too short, according to a police source.
L&I officials say they inspect these gates if they receive a complaint of an apparent defect.
There are no open violations and there is no violation history related to the gate, according to L&I.
Rita’s Italian Ice, the shop’s parent company, released a statement about the crash.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the child’s family,” said Linda Duke, Rita’s spokeswoman. “Due to the current investigation we really cannot comment about the unfortunate incident.”