Parents of girl killed by fallen gate hire attorney

Posted: July 07, 2014

THE PARENTS of a 3-year-old girl killed by a fallen security gate outside a Rita's Water Ice in Brewerytown have hired an attorney to "assure that all persons and entities responsible for Wynter's death are held accountable, both criminally and civilly," according to a statement released by the family.

Wynter Larkin, of Yeadon, died June 28 after the 2,000-pound metal security gate detached from the concrete wall of the Rita's on Girard Avenue near 29th Street and fell directly on her.

"This should not have happened and was wholly preventable," attorney Joe H. Tucker Jr. said. "This was not an accident. This was not an act of God. This little girl was killed."

Reached yesterday, Tucker added: "There is nothing more innocent than a mother on a sunny day getting water ice for her daughter. To have this result in the killing of this girl is beyond words. It's just devastating, devastating."

Wynter and her mother, Cheryl Larkin, had arrived at the store just a half-hour before the incident to help out at a fundraiser by Omega Psi Phi fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority to collect money for scholarships and community-service projects.

Both Cheryl Larkin and Rebecca Jackson, whose husband Kenneth owns the Rita's franchise, are Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority members. Kenneth Jackson is an Omega Psi Phi member.

Tucker said yesterday that his office is investigating the "errors, malfeasance and neglect" that sent the gate toppling onto Wynter to determine who should be held accountable, adding that "the installer of the gate is someone who sits above all other persons as responsible."

"It is our understanding that some [Rita's] workers had complained about the security gate [and troubles they had] getting it adjusted and locked," Tucker said.

Carlton Williams, the city's Licenses & Inspections commissioner, said security-gate maintenance is the responsibility of property owners. The building is owned by P&G Property Development LLC, which Kenneth Jackson registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State in 2007, according to state records.

The Jacksons could not be reached yesterday.

Cheryl Larkin and her husband, Bradford, through Tucker, thanked the public for their prayers and support but asked for privacy.

Wynter's funeral will be held today. A public viewing is scheduled from 8 to 10 a.m., and a service will follow at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, 230 W. Coulter St., Germantown.

A fund set up to help the family with funeral and other expenses ( has raised more than $13,000.

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On Twitter: @DanaDiFilippo


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