- Last Updated: 5:04 AM, May 9, 2012
- Posted: 2:38 AM, May 9, 2012
Panicked friends of the 12-year-old Brooklyn boy entangled in a parking-lot roll-up gate desperately rushed to stop an incoming car from triggering the mechanism that raised it higher and finally carried him to his death.
Dramatic surveillance video reviewed by The Post shows tragic Yakim McDaniels dangling 20 feet in the air on the gate, which is not moving as the car approaches.
The vehicle stops before entering the lot, but for some reason, the gate begins rising again, going up another six inches.
Yakim and three friends had arrived at the Plaza Residence, co-owned by former Mets slugger Mo Vaughn, at 4:22 p.m. Sunday for a game of “chicken” on the gate.
The video shows an adult walking by and the boys sitting, feigning no interest in the gate.
As soon as the man passes, one boy is seen doing a little dance as the gate lowers to the ground.
Then the gate rises — possibly triggered by one of the boys with a remote control — and Yakim grabs on, followed by his pals.
His friends jump off when it’s half rolled up.
But Yakim does not.
The car arrives but does not enter the lot.
But inexplicably, the gate moves higher.
Yakim kicks his legs wildly as he struggles to get free — but by 4:26, his body is motionless.
At 4:29, a neighbor arrives with a ladder, but it’s too short to enable him to reach Yakim.
A separate video shows a security guard watching 16 video feeds from 350 cameras from around the complex and looking at a laptop computer during the tragedy.
It’s unclear what, if any, scenes from the tragedy were being displayed on the video feeds.
It’s not until 4:33 p.m., when firetrucks arrive, that the guard stands up, apparently finally aware of what’s happening.
“They have blood on their hands as far I’m concerned,” said Alberto Ebanks, the McDaniels’ family attorney, promising to file suit. “The security company was literally asleep at the switch.”
He also said the management company had been warned by residents that neighborhood kids were treating the gate like an amusement-park ride.
But a spokesman for Omni New York, Vaughn’s real-estate firm, insisted the company was not to blame.
“It is very unfortunate that a dangerous game of chicken resulted in a tragic death,” Ronn Torossian said.
Additional reporting by