Police examine the deadly roll-up gate that claimed the life of a Brooklyn boy.
A 12-year-old Brooklyn boy playing “chicken” on a parking lot gate was crushed to death Sunday when the gate rose and his arm became stuck, police and witnesses said.
Yakim McDaniels, horsing around with five other children, climbed onto the 20-foot iron electronic gate at Lott Ave. near Watkins St. in Brownsville, family and witnesses said.
“It’s a game. Kids are always on that gate,” said neighbor Anthony Figueroa. “They play chicken to see who can hang on the longest.”
Around 4:30 p.m., the game turned deadly when one of the boys activated the gate’s motion sensor.
“One of them swiped his leg to break the safety beam and made it go back up,” said one police source. Yakim stayed on while the two others who were also clinging to the roll-up gate hopped off, the source said.
Within moments, Yakim’s hand was caught in the top of the frame, preventing him from jumping off, the police source said.
“He was screaming and screaming and he got caught up on the top of the gate,” said Reinaldo Blandon, 31. “From his head to the back of his shoulders went under, then he stopped yelling.”
The FDNY had to cut through the gate to pull out the boy, who was seen convulsing as he dangled during the harrowing 20-minute ordeal.
Yakim’s mother, Doris Chase, rushed out in panic.
“His mother was just crying — everyone was crying. She just kept yelling, ‘My baby! My baby!’ ” Blandon said.
“He was already dead when they pulled him out,” he said. “They put him on a stretcher and put a white sheet over him.”
Emergency responders rushed Yakim — who was in the seventh grade at Middle School 358 and one of six children — to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to police sources.
“I just lost my oldest son,” said Chase. “He was a leader; he was never a follower.”
The gate is equipped with sensors to prevent it from coming down on top of pedestrians, but not to prevent it from rising, said Penny Wisneski, president of Reliant Realty, the agency that manages the Lott Ave. complex, Plaza Residences.
She said it is now something they will “look into.”
Once overrun with drug dealers and rats, the complex was cleaned up by Omni New York LLC, whose managing director is Mo Vaughn, former New York Mets star turned real estate developer.
Residents said they often see kids looking for a quick thrill move the gate with a simple shake.
“The gate is messed up,” Figueroa said. “People in the building are always yelling at them not to play on it.”
After the tragic accident, Yakim’s devastated mother was reeling at the thought of living without her son.
“I don’t know how I’m going to sleep,” Chase said. “I have to walk by his bedroom to go to the bathroom.”