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Parents were taking photos moments before boy fell from luxury box at Lakers game [Updated]

Staples The parents of a 2-year-old who died after plunging approximately 28 feet from a Staples Center luxury suite had been taking photos of the boy just before he fell, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

[Updated 2:47 p.m.: Officials earlier estimated that the boy fell 50 feet. Arena managers now say the distance was closer to 28 feet.]

Officials said the family was looking at the digital photos and lost track of the boy, who somehow went over the top of the glass partition, police said.

The boy, Lucas Anthony Tang, had been crawling around the suite during the Lakers game against the Golden State Warriors, sources said. At some point, his parents noticed he was missing and began to look for him.

They did not know then that their son, who would have turned 3 in January, had fallen. Witnesses at the game told The Times that the boy was moving his arms, legs and head before paramedics took him out on a stretcher.

The death is being investigated by the LAPD's abused-child unit, a standard practice that officials said does not necessarily mean a crime has been committed.

[Updated at 10:57 a.m.: "Our condolences and prayers go out to the Tang family. We are working with the Los Angeles Police Department on the investigation of this tragedy," Michael Roth, vice president of communications for the Staples Center, said in a statement.]

RELATED:

Child dies after 50-foot fall at Lakers game

Child-abuse unit investigating boy's death in Staples Center fall

Boy hurt in fall from Staples Center luxury suite after Lakers game

-- Andrew Blankstein and Kate Linthicum

Photo: A security guard, top, looks down from where a young boy fell to where a second guard stands after the Lakers game at Staples Center on Sunday night. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

 

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Comments () | Archives (63)

If you are standing on a train platform or walking near a busy street with a two-year old, would you let him/her run around without restraint? When I walked to a park with my nephews, I either held their hands or carried them. I believe these are caring parents—and the death of their child is punishment enough. But I DO judge their decision to bring their child to a place of potential and OBVIOUS danger where they would be focused on something other than their child's safety. The child seems not to have enjoyed or have had any interest in the game. And I would be too concerned about my nephew’s safety to enjoy the game myself.

could be criminal negligence on the part of staples if access to where he fell wasn't protected and closed off.

Please keep an eye on your children. Not only for the child but could have landed on someone below.

comment from Johnny H, he must not have children if he is saying a 2 year old cannot climb over the 3ft glass anything possible with young children....keeping your eyes on your child 24-7 is impossible BUT they parents should have used more caution as to what the child was doing rather then looking threw their camera to see the pictures they took..one of them should of had the child...it's a tragedy and also a lesson for other parents who take their young children to theses games to learn.

Tang family, my heart is so broken for you. Being a first time parent with a one year old, I understand how easy it is to be distracted by sometimes what can be considered small things. Small children are very fast, and it is an exhausting job to keep your eyes on them at all times. It was an unfortunate accident. Please don't punish yourselves. You cannot change what happened. It's easy for everyone else to say that you were at fault, but we all have near misses. Every parent understands this whether they want to admit it or not. Sorry folks. If you are bold enough to cast the first stone, go ahead. But remember, it could happen to you.

God just wanted his little angel back.

my heart goes out to the parents

What a bunch of jerks blogging on this site. I typically never blog, but I just couldn't stand reading all these comments. What kind of people can possibly blame this on the parents? Those suites are enclosed and is probably the safest way to watch a sporting event. Being a parent of young kids myself, I am always trying to watch over my children like a hawk. 99.9% of the time they will be fine. It's that slight chance that can turn your life upside down. Last year, I took my daughter to a game on her 7th birthday. I'd spent $2,000 for tix 10 rows back from the floor. We had such a great time and it's an event she'll likely remember forever. I cannot imagine losing a child doing something that you absolutely love. Life will never be the same.

There should be sympathy and not judgement. Its tragic no matter how you look at it.

@niceperson

Your reasons don't fly. Parents need to put the safety and well-being of their children first -- not their own gratification. A child that young should never be at a sporting event geared toward adults -- moreover drinking adults.

-the parents don't have a trusted babysitter -- then too bad the parents should have foregone this event
-the parents can't afford childcare (perhaps they were given tix to this box) -- again too bad -- parents get to stay home
-the babysitter canceled last-minute -- tough -- if anything perhaps one parent gets to attend the game, the other one stays home with their child
-they work all day and want to spend time with their children at night - then stay home with your young toddler and play with him


From the diagram, it looks like an unsafe design. 1.5 feet of glass and seats next to the glass looks like it makes the barrier 1.5 feet? The parents may have been making sure the child didn't leave the suite, not thinking that the child could exit the way he did. They probably assumed that the suite was totally enclosed and safe. Although, it is the caregivers job to make sure the environment is safe for a child.
Don't trust others to protect you and your family. You have to be your own safety inspector.

Im sure the great Eric Clapton could relate this tragedy.
RIP
little Lucas

Breaks my heart anytime a child faces death.

It's not fair to start blaming the child's parent and not express sympathy. Regardless of the situation this definitely has to be hard for the family.

Sure is a lot of self-righteousness out there these days. These kind of people, I bet their dog doesn't even like them.

It is sad anytime a young child dies but this was due to carelessness. A toddler can not concentrate that long to watch a sports event (nor can I at 60) so he should not have been there in the first place. Let's hope the parents have enough sense to not have any more kids or else hire a nanny to raise the kids for them. We all know they will win a bundle in a law suit--and sports fans will pay the price in tickets. Sorry to be so jaded but IT IS WHAT IT IS.

The judgment being heaped on these parents(anonymously I might add)is cowardly. None of you know what really happened, none of you know the parties involved. And yet you can somehow sit on your high horse and scold two people who have just suffered the worst tragedy two people could possibly go through? I sure hope the people around you are not as callous as you are if heaven forbid tragedy struck your life.

Dale, my wife is a stay at home mom so YES, one of us always have our eyes on our son. He's 3 not 16 for cryin' out loud! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion(s). Let's be factual & take all of the emotion out. 30-foot drop, 2-yr old child, parents should have been watching him. Period. You disagree you say? It was the child's fault then? It was okay for the parents not to watch him? C'mon.

To: niceperson

All you reasons for WHY the child was there in the first place are a joke.

If you cannot afford a babysitter or can't trust anyone to watch your child or got free tix to the game you forfeit the tix and spend time with your child elsewhere. Elsewhere being someplace appropriate for a 2-year old.

This story reeks of bad parenting.

Only the suite seats can have bottled beer, everywhere else cans. The first large lawsuit was a beer bottle thrown out in the crowds from the suites and a woman lost her eyesight in one eye. I;m sure that they were thinking that if you can afford a suite, you would have sense not to throw a bottle into the crowd...yeah right!

When I was with the FD, we tried to raise that 18 inch plastic/glass partition to 2-3 feet. We were overruled and now it's come to pass...someone falling over it.

Poor family and a piss in the bucket for Staples when they have to pay out the settlement.

My heart goes out to this family. However, I don't think it's appropriate to take a 2 year old child to an event like this. I do think the parents should have been watching him more closely, though. And, I still question how he got up that high without the parents seeing him.

Sad day. As a mother of a recently turned 3 year old son, I couldn't imagine what they are going through inside their minds and hearts. No matter how careful parents are with young babies and children, accidents will happen. Unfortunately some turn tragic. Our eyes must stay on the children no matter what is going on around us. Looking at pictures could have surely waited until they were home. If no criminal neglect charges are handed down, those parents have to live with this moment for the rest of their lives. Prayer to the family and friends going through this tragic time in their life!

Here's how I think it happened - the toddler first got into one of the first row sky box chairs. It seems directly across from the first row chairs there is a small ledge with the 18 inch glass partition above it. The ledge is probably for resting drinks and snacks. The toddler probably stepped from the chair to the ledge and was standing there peering over the glass partition. I'm guessing the toddler was at least a foot taller than the partition. So it does seem possible he fell over the edge on his own. He may have even stepped on something sitting on the ledge. It was probably full of trash after the game.

I have two small children myself. I can say that just looking at the skybox diagram above is scary. If I brought my toddlers to this skybox, I would keep my eyes on them 100% of the time and never allow them anywhere near the front row. Kids will be kids, and they love to climb, especially boys.

Another reason why people need to stop using their phones so much. Taking pics, checking email, texting, etc. When is enough enough? people don't even know what is going on in their sorroundings. Tragic.

18-inch partition is pretty short I think. I do not have any kids. Have a 3 yrs nephew and 2 yrs niece. Man, I see them climbing every where. They can easily climb over that in an instance. It's a tragic accident.
Feel bad for the kid and family. Prayers goes out to them.

My first thought, after I'd recovered from the shock, was how easy it would be to use a safety harness on a young child. I've raised two, and used a harness in crowded or unsafe situations with both. Who would walk through a subway station just holding a child's hand, for instance? Who would walk near the edge of the Grand Canyon just holding a child's hand? This is the same situation. There's no way to bring this child back, but I hope the situation will save other families from this grief. If you can't keep your eye on the child every second, or if you think he or she might be able to slip away, get a harness and use it.

 
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