Boy killed by ice-cream truck: Grieving family disputes police account
Police say neighborhood residents attacked the driver of an ice-cream truck that ran over and killed Jamarion Thomas, a 7-year-old South L.A. boy.
Family members of the 7-year-old boy who was run over and killed by an ice-cream truck in South Los Angeles are disputing the police account of how it happened.
Los Angeles police say the boy, identified by family members as Jamarion Thomas, was riding his motorized bike while holding onto the slow-moving truck when he apparently slipped, fell under the carriage and was run over at about 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.
LAPD Officer Drake Madison told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that it was a “horrible accident.”
But Jamarion’s family insists he was pushing, not riding, his bike and that even if he wanted to, he was too small to hold onto the ice-cream truck.
Jamarion’s mother, 34-year-old Danisha Mitchell, recalled the moments before the collision: Jamarion came in and asked for ice cream money, so she briefly left him pushing the bike.
“By the time I came out, my baby was lying down,” she said.
She heard screaming.
“I just ran to where they were screaming,” Mitchell said.
Jamarion was rushed to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
On Thursday morning, a small shrine with candles and stuffed animals continued to grow where Jamarion was hit in the 200 block of East 97th Street. Within a half-hour, more than half a dozen family members came by to console the mother, grandmother and aunt as they prepared to leave for the coroner’s office.
“The bike is still here, but my nephew is gone,” Raquel Thomas said.
The driver, who police say was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, has not been arrested in connection with the incident.
He was attacked by angry residents when he stopped the truck, but police said he was not hospitalized.
TV footage from the scene showed a hole through the windshield of the truck as police responded.
The driver has not been identified, but family members said his truck -- painted black with red flames and skulls -- was a fixture in the neighborhood. He didn’t stop until a witness yelled out in Spanish, Jamarion’s uncle, Michael Harris, said.
“I told my nephew we were going to play some football,” he said. “Now we have to bury him.”
Follow the reporters on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA and @smasunaga
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