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Toddler's Fatal Fall at the Staples Center Probed by LAPD

Staples Center (MySpace)

Los Angeles Police Department Investigates Toddler's Fatal Fall at the Staples Center
Staples Center (MySpace)
LOS ANGELES (CBS/KCAL/AP) As the parents of a 2-year-old who fell to his death at the Staples Center grieve, police have launched an investigation into how the toddler scaled a glass safety guard in a luxury box and plummeted 30 feet to the stands below.

The investigation into the death Sunday night of Lucas Anthony Tang does not necessarily indicate that a crime occurred, but the police department's juvenile division is required to probe all sudden deaths when the victim is under age 11.

The Los Angeles Police Department has released very few details regarding the little boy's death, saying only that his family was taking photographs after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors and "somehow the child went over the edge of the section" landing on a row of seats approximately 30 feet below.

He was rushed to the hospital where he died a few hours later of head injuries.

"In 11 years, we've never had an incident like this," said Michael Roth, a spokesman for Staples and owner AEG.

The 950,000-square-foot-stadium is in compliance with the city's building codes which require guardrails to be at least 26 inches high in front of seats.

Roth says the stadium which opened in 1999 has 160 luxury suites on three levels.

Each box has tiers of seats with safety glass embedded in concrete walls which creates a barrier; however, the barrier varies in height and at its lowest point is about the height of an adult's waist.

The arena is also conducting its own investigation.

The Lakers organization issued a statement expressing shock and sadness at the tragedy.

"To go from a moment of happiness and enjoyment, to the loss of this boy's life, is tragic and heartbreaking. We would like to ask Lakers fans to join us in keeping Lucas and his family in our thoughts and prayers," the statement said.

Monday night's game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the New Orleans Hornets went on as scheduled, but it was hard to forget Sunday night's tragedy.

"To have a child die at a (venue) where you're planning on having a good time, it's got to be a tough tough thing to go through," said Hornets' rookie coach Monty Williams. "Somebody's family has changed in an instant, and then we go right back in here playing -- almost like business as usual -- while the family is still grieving."

  • Caroline Black

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