3-Year-Old Girl Killed By Falling Security Door At Rita's Water

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3-Year-Old Girl Killed By Falling Security Door At Rita's Water Ice

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A bizarre accident killed a 3-year-old girl Saturday in Brewerytown. Police say a security door at a Rita's Water Ice fell on the girl.

On Sunday, Philadelphia Police identified 3-year-old Wynter Larkin of Yeadon as the girl killed.

There was a fundraiser going on for a fraternity and sorority when this tragedy happened, shaking up the whole neighborhood.

"I'm pretty sure the girl just died right in front of my face," one witness said.

The heartbreak occurred right outside Rita's Water Ice at 29th Street and Girard Avenue. That's where crime scene investigators were working after the young girl was crushed by a 2,000 pound security door that came to rest on the sidewalk.

Investigators are calling it a freak accident.

"To see her laying there, lifeless, you can't imagine," witness Tracey Stanford said.

Another witness admitted to being "shocked that this was happening."

Police say the girl was attending the fraternity and sorority fundraiser with her mom around 4:30 p.m. when the gate came loose without warning. Screws littered the grounds.

"I was walking in the door when I heard the boom," Stanford said. "And I came out. And all we could hear was yelling and screaming."

"She just looked lifeless," witness Jia Brunson said.

Witnesses say 20 to 30 people rushed in to lift the gate and give the girl CPR.

"They were all around on each side, just trying to hold it up over, you know," Brunson said. "But I guess, I think once it her it was too late for them to pick it up."

The girl was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police and L&I went to work searching for a cause.

Witnesses say they will never forget this day.

"This is going to be something that's going to, you know, haunt me for a long time," Stanford said.

Members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority have been hosting fundraisers at the location for at least 5 years, according to neighbors. We tried to track with some of them, they were just too emotional.

We also understand that L&I says there are no open complaints or violations relating to the gate.

Flowers now mark the spot where 3-year-old Wynter Larkin died.

Neighbors are in a state of shock.

"I’m numb. I was numb then, and I’m numb now,” said neighbor Ron Waters.

A shattered Waters lives next door to the victim's parents.

"Such a wonderful family. Blessed to have them next door to me, ok?” he said. “I hope they can get through this."

Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and inspections shut the business down while investigators probed the holes where bolts once kept the door in place. They are looking at whether the right types of bolts were used.

Rita’s Water Ice is fully cooperating with the investigation.



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