A metal gate attached over the opening of the store fell on a three-year old girl.
Police said the metal frame and security gate that came crashing down weighed 2,000 pounds.
“It seemed like it was moving in slow motion,” said an onlooker who heard the noise and thought at first that, miraculously, no one had been hurt, even though the heavy gate came down amid dozens who had gathered at the shop in the 2800 block of Girard Avenue.
But then, the screaming began and just as quickly, the man, who asked that his name not be used, and about 25 others were lifting the gate off the girl, holding it up for more than 20 minutes.
“You could see the imprint on her face,” the man said. “I was lifting the gate and I’m looking down at the girl. Clearly she was unconscious. Her eyes were open and there was blood.”
The girl was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 5 p.m., police said.
Police said the incident, which was being investigated by the police Central Detective Division, occurred about a half-hour earlier.
The onlooker is a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, which was holding a fund-raiser for scholarships and its other charitable causes in tandem with the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
The girl’s mother, a member of the sorority, was there to help with the fund-raiser. “She was screaming,” he said.
The two groups, which are the first Greek-lettered groups to be founded on the campuses of historically black colleges, were involved in a friendly rivalry over which one could sell the most water ice and raise the most money for their charities.
Franchise owner Kenneth Jackson is a member of Omega Psi Phi, which decorated its side of the stand with balloons in the fraternity’s trademark colors of purple and gold.
Fellow franchise owner Rebecca Cooper Jackson belongs to Alpha Kappa Alpha, which hung balloons in its colors, pink and green, on the other side.
The business has been ordered to stay closed until the security gate can be repaired.
(Photo Source: Philly.com)