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Family of Boy Crushed to Death by Security Gate Plans to Sue

By  Murray Weiss Tuan Nguyen and Patrick Hedlund | May 8, 2012 6:36pm | Updated on May 8, 2012 10:06pm

BROWNSVILLE — A lawyer for the mother of a 12-year-old boy crushed to death in a rolldown gate last weekend said he was preparing to sue the gate's owners.

Alberto Ebanks said Omni New York LLC, which operates the 230 Lott Ave. complex where the gate was located, did not do enough to prevent the horrific accident that killed Yakim McDaniels.

Ebanks said the fence, which blocks off a basketball court and other recreation facilities, was an "attractive nuisance," in a complex where there is "no place for the kids to go."

"When you walk in, it's not like you're going into someone's home," Ebanks said.  "It's like walking into Attica."

He said the company had been on notice that the gate "was in a constant state of disrepair but elected not to take it out of service."

Firefighters had to cut through the metal gate and frame to extract McDaniels.
Firefighters had to cut through the metal gate and frame to extract McDaniels.
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DNAinfo/Chelsia Rose Marcius

A spokesman for Omni New York, founded by former Mets slugger Mo Vaughn, denied the company was at fault for the McDaniels' death, and said it had helped create a safe environment for the community.

“It is very unfortunate that people are taking advantage of this tragic situation for self serving reasons, but any allegations that we were at all responsible is absurd," spokesman Ronn Torossian said in a statement. "It is very unfortunate that a dangerous game of chicken resulted in a tragic death."

He added that all of Omni's surveillance video has been turned over to the NYPD, and that the company is cooperating with cops.

"We have constantly urged the youth of the community to be safe wherever they are," Torossian said.

The company agreed to remove the gate a day after the gruesome incident, but an Omni spokeswoman declined to provide a date for when it will be taken down.