Shopping cart is dropped four stories -- onto N.Y. woman's head
In a crime that has shocked New Yorkers, two 12-year-olds allegedly dropped a shopping cart from four stories up, letting it fall on the head of a woman shopping for Halloween treats for underprivileged kids. She's now clinging to life.
Marion Salmon Hedges, 47, a successful Manhattan real estate agent, was at an East Harlem mall along with her 13-year-old son when the incident occurred Sunday, police said. Her son was not injured but was hysterical after witnessing the incident, according to the New York Post.
Mother and son were walking through a breezeway at a popular shopping area that includes, four stories up, a skyway that helps customers get to their destination. That was the perch the kids allegedly used to toss a shopping cart up and over the railing as a kind of prank, according to media reports.
Earlier in the day, the same kids were allegedly throwing drinks down on unsuspecting passers-by. Later, they moved on to more deadly objects.
At one point, the cart became stuck on the railing. "A 14-year-old buddy urged the duo to give it up," the Post reported, quoting a source. But one of the suspects "was so determined to make sure it went over the edge that he allegedly pushed it again. It reportedly hit a sign on the way down, and then struck the 47-year-old mother of two as she stood at a kiosk to pay for parking outside Costco with her son, Dayton," the Post reported.
Police sources told the Post that the two kids taken into custody later laughed and joked about the incident.
A doctor who happened to be at the scene performed CPR and revived Hedges. She was in critical but stable condition at New York City's Harlem Hospital, lying in a medically induced coma.
The Daily News reported that Hedges is an active volunteer at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center -- which serves the suspects' neighborhood -- and was buying Halloween candy for the center when she was struck. She is also active in her church and was named Outstanding Volunteer of 2006 by the Junior League, according to the Post.
The boys are each being charged with assault and criminal possession of a deadly weapon, a spokeswoman for the New York Police Department told the L.A. Times.
The case has already triggered debate, with some saying law enforcement should come down hard on the two suspects; others say the real blame lies with a lack of security and safety fencing to keep items from hitting customers below, either intentionally or unintentionally.
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Credit: Kevork Djansezian /Associated Press