Last night 4-year-old Malachi Johnson fell 23 stories to his death from the terrace of his Co-op city apartment. Witnesses saw him hit the courtyard, and attempted to help but were blocked by construction fencing. Johnson lived with his mother, who was reportedly in the shower at the time of the incident. According to the Post, the child pushed a chair up to the railing of the balcony, climbed over and fell. One witness told WABC, "She was just screaming and saying Oh God no, Oh God no, that was the mother."
The courtyard onto which he fell was a popular meeting point within the housing development, so many witnesses watched helplessly as the child fell. One told WCBS, "I saw a shadow fall. I heard it splat. Everybody was like 'Oh my God it's a little boy. It's a little boy.' Me and my friend run over there and we see the little boy's body splat and we see the blood between the pillars and everybody is just like ... very hurt by it." The boy's mother was hospitalized after fainting from the sight of her son's body.
Last month, Co-op City, along with various other buildings throughout the city, was ordered to stop balcony use because of safety concerns. Safety upgrades had been ordered but not yet completed, but investigators said their balcony was structurally sound.