LAS VEGAS — An 8-year-old boy apparently crawling through a space in an automatic gate died after being struck by the metal arm that opens the entryway to the suburban Las Vegas housing community where he lived, authorities said.
The arm that opens and closes the gate moves back and forth in the space measuring 7 inches tall and nearly 3 feet wide that Matthew Cattlet was known to play in. He was crushed after another child on a bicycle approached the gate Tuesday afternoon, triggering a motion sensor for it to move, North Las Vegas police spokeswoman Chrissie Coon said.
His official cause of death is pending, the Clark County coroner's office said Wednesday.
A teenager who saw the bar hit the boy called 911 around 5:30 p.m., reporting that the child was stuck in the gate at the Village at Craig Ranch and suffered a severe injury, Coon said. Other children between the ages of 8 and 14 playing nearby also witnessed it and have spoken to police.
"Reportedly, this young child frequently crawls through the space in the gate. He was trying to crawl through the arm of the gate but he couldn't get out in time and the arm of the gate crushed him," Coon said.
Matthew was taken to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he died.
It is protocol to notify child protective services of the incident, but police say they do not suspect criminal negligence.
"It appears just to be a tragic accident," Coon said.