NEW YORK — A 7-year-old boy was struck and killed by an NYPD tow truck while on his way to school with his mother Thursday in Brooklyn.
Surveillance video shows the boy, identified as Kamari Hampton, riding a scooter on a crosswalk at the intersection of North Portland and Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene. The tow truck driver didn’t immediately stop after striking Kamari.
“I’m devastated. I was coming to get my baby’s breakfast this morning and the tow truck hit that little boy. He had a crosswalk. He was coming through the crosswalk, he had the right of way, on a scooter,” said Antwon Hayes.
Witnesses watched in shock and then ran to help Kamari, but it was too late.
Watch Jennifer Bisram’s report
The NYPD said initially that the driver stopped immediately at the scene, while witnesses said otherwise.
“She hit that little boy and kept going. I had to tell the housing workers to stop her, from her to keep going. The mother’s screaming hysterically, ‘They killed my baby!'” said Hayes.
Witnesses said the driver was on her cellphone, speeding and ran a red light.
“I think I was crying more than her, because to see devastation like that, she just kept screaming ‘They killed my baby.’ And it’s unimaginable. I can’t imagine my grandbaby that played with him every day in the park being here, laying down like that,” said Tyrana Carter.
“Our heart goes out to the family of that young boy and his mother, his school, his teachers who were also on the scene, a very tough scene to be at this morning,” said NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey.
Police tell us the truck driver, a 56-year-old woman who is a member of the NYPD, has been arrested.
Mayor Eric Adams said on social media Thursday night, “We will do whatever it takes to keep our streets safe.”
“This is the 25th child to be killed on Mayor Adams’ streets,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris said.
Harris says the Adams administration is behind schedule on street safety plans.
“Because of decision being made by this administration that are withholding street safety projects, it means that beautiful child will never come home again,” he said.
According to Transportation Alternatives, nine children were killed in traffic violence in New York City in 2020 and this was the 103rd time a child was killed in a traffic crash since 2014.
“How do we make sure that we have more crossing guards across the city?” said New York City Council Member Crystal Hudson. “We have to hold the NYPD accountable the same way we expect to hold every other New Yorker accountable for obeying traffic laws.”
Residents who spoke to CBS New York’s Doug Williams said they’ve never seen crossing guards at the intersection, which they call dangerous.
“I’m just a parent in this area, but we’ve had so many conversations regarding safety for our students while they walk to school,” Fort Greene resident Shawneke Pass said.
Balloons were released late Thursday afternoon in honor of Kamari, and throughout the evening, many Fort Greene residents stopped at the intersection to pay their respects by adding to a growing memorial.
“And you just think, what if you were walking your child to school and they’re hit and killed?” New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said. “We need the community to remember what happened here today.”
One woman we spoke to said she didn’t witness what happened, but worse, her kids did. She took a moment to be at the memorial in honor of Kamari before returning home to put her kids to bed and talk to them about what they were forced to witness.