NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two 12-year-old boys that were arrested and charged with assault after allegedly using a shopping cart as a weapon pleaded not guilty on Friday.
The suspects are being charged as juveniles and face reckless endangerment and depraved indifference charges in addition to assault.
A tearful message was delivered Friday from Rosemary Rosario, the mother of one of two boys accused of injuring Marion Salmon Hedges by tossing a shopping cart from a fourth-floor walkway outside a Target store on Sunday in Harlem, while she was with her 14-year-old son, CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reported.
“To the family that got affected, everybody, the three of us, their other kid, them. It’s a terrible thing and I hope she recuperates. I really, really, really feel for her and her children,” an emotional Rosario said, adding that her son was “really sorry.”
Hedges remains in critical condition at Harlem Hospital. Rosario and the other boy’s family left the courtroom in tears earlier because the pair was ordered back into custody by the judge.
Michael Hedges recently said his wife will require months of rehabilitation due to neurological damage.
Hedges’ family said it will use the tragedy to promote a good cause. They told the New York Daily News they plan to create a foundation to aid wayward inner city youth.
Earlier this week, Michael Hedges said his family hopes the boys get help.
“They’re not adults. They’re children, and children who have been left on their own without supervision,” he told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey in an exclusive interview.
Another talking point that has come for this tragic incident is the fact that the railing the shopping cart went over was just 3 ½-feet tall.
Councilman James Vacca told CBS 2’s Hennessey on Friday night that instead of private walkways having short railings on either side, future walkways should have 8-foot high fencing, the same height you see on any city- or state-owned walkway.
“The reality is we can’t sit here and do nothing,” Vacca said. “If a private developer does not want to make these structures safe by having fencing, then he’s not going to get a permit from the City of New York.”
Back at the East River Plaza, where the tragedy occurred, some said bigger is better – and safer, too.
“Anybody could come and throw something off,” said Sonya Knight of Brooklyn.
“You’re not going to pick it up and throw it over an 8-foot fence,” added Bill Miles of Brooklyn.
But others said raising the railing is a knee-jerk reaction.
“I think there should be more security,” said Justine Malice of the Upper East Side.
“I think 8 feet is a little overkill,” added Danielle Cruz of East Harlem.
However, Vacca said 8 feet would have made a difference in the life of Marion Hedges.
“If this fencing was up two weeks ago, this could not have happened,” Vacca said.
Councilman Vacca hopes to have hearings on the idea by the end of the year.
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