NEW YORK — A boy who has autism suffered a fractured skull after he fell several floors down an elevator shaft in the Bronx on Thursday.
“I wanted to faint,” the child’s grandfather Segundo Campoverde told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes in Spanish.
The 6-year-old boy’s grandfather and special needs caregiver realized the child ran out of their first-floor apartment when they suddenly heard a door slam, according to police.
Campoverde says the boy escaped when he went in the bedroom for a minute and the child’s aid was in the bathroom.
“In one moment, he ran out,” he said. “I began to followed him, but because he is so fast, I was unable to catch up to him.”
It happened at 1235 Grand Concourse around 1 p.m. while the boy’s mom was at work.
Police say they used surveillance video, realizing he ran up the stairs to the sixth floor, where he found an unlocked door that led to the roof. Police believe the boy then slipped into an elevator shaft, somehow squeezing through a seven-inch gap between the door and the wall.
Investigators say he fell and fractured his skull, landing on top of an elevator that was in the basement.
Neighbors were stunned.
“I was shocked,” one resident told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge. “I was thinking of how he gets in the elevator? I’ve been here for a couple of years now and this has never happened.”
“He’s very quiet and very intelligent, very, very intelligent. He’s gets very curious, you know like children,” Mabel Rodriguez said. “They’re very nice people. They always say hello. I talk to the lady.”
“It’s a regular elevator and the elevator was working just fine, so we don’t know,” one woman said.
“That’s very traumatizing. I just hope he recovers soon,” neighbor Jeneba Maidata said.
Campoverde says his grandson has escaped the apartment alone before.
The city’s buildings department is investigating. A spokesperson does say there are three active elevator violations, which they call non-hazardous. Two were issued in 2020 after an inspector found two elevators were missing door lock monitoring systems, but that was fixed last year.