Detroit EMS under fire for response to boy's jump
State rep: 'We are getting to a point where we're not providing emergency medical services to children who are dying in our streets'
By Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
DETROIT — A 9-year-old boy jumped or fell nine stories to his death Wednesday from the window of an apartment building near downtown, police said.
According to preliminary information from the police, the boy, whose name wasn't released Wednesday, had threatened to commit suicide in the past.
The fall was reported about 5:30 p.m. at the building, called the Young Manor, in the 2500 block of West Grand near 14th. The incident is being investigated by the Detroit Police Department's homicide unit.
Neighbors rushed to the boy's aid to no avail. He was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead.
Michele McCray was sitting on a stoop about 20 feet away from the building's entrance when she heard a loud thump and then moaning.
That's when she saw the boy on the ground with broken bones in both of his arms. So she ran inside to get help.
"It's sad," McCray said as investigators stepped past yellow police tape nearby. "It hurts me even though I didn't know the kid. I'm kind of in shock."
Neighbors said the boy had lived there with relatives for at least a year and was known for riding his skateboard in the area.
Arthur Lee, a longtime neighborhood resident, was leaving work when he noticed the police activity and gathering crowd.
"This is terrible," he said. "This is the first I heard of something like this happening here."
Neighbors said the boy was transported to the hospital in a police squad car because an ambulance wasn't available.
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who learned about the incident shortly after it happened, said a similar incident was reported July 7, when a 14-year-old was fatally shot and his father couldn't find EMS transport.
Both incidents happened in her district, which she said once was covered by five EMS trucks. One had to be dispatched from the city's east side but didn't make it on time, Tlaib said.
"It just doesn't make any sense... We are getting to a point where we're not providing emergency medical services to children who are dying in our streets," she said.
Tlaib said she's calling on state officials who oversee EMS to investigate.
If it is found that the 9-year-old committed suicide, he is the second youth under 10 to do so in Detroit this year.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office ruled last month that a 7-year-old boy hanged himself from his bunk bed in May.
Earlier Wednesday, another tragic fall was reported in the city.
One woman died and another was injured after a railing gave way and they fell from a second-story balcony at a home on Joy.
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