Woman falls to her death in Queens Center mall, injuring teenager

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An Ozone Park woman plummeted four stories to her death inside the Queens Center Mall Wednesday in an apparent suicide, authorities said.

Around 2:20 p.m., the woman, in her mid-50s, was at the mall with her two high-school-age daughters, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. On the third floor of the mall at the atrium, an opening that looks down through the various floors down to the subterranean food court level, the woman climbed up on the railing and jumped off, Brown said.

Though he used the word “jumped,” the DA declined to call the incident a suicide before the investigation was completed.

The woman clipped a high-school-age boy during her descent, Brown said.

The woman, whose name was not immediately released, was pronounced dead at the scene. The teen was taken to Elmhurst Hospital and was expected to recover, the DA said.

The incident shut down roughly a quarter of the mall for hours as police investigated the death.

“It was not a result of a safety issue. That’s all I can say at this time,” said Queens Center Senior Property Manager Jeffrey Owen.

Elmhurst twins Reza and Ibnu Darpir, 19, said they saw the woman fall past them without a sound and clip a young man who was lying in a massage chair.

“She was not wearing shoes,” Ibnu said.

News of the apparent suicide rattled shoppers.

“I come here every week and nothing like this has ever happened,” said Jamaica resident Samantha Alegria, 19. “You go to the mall just to shop. You never think something like this could happen.”

Springfield Gardens resident Al Willton, 38, said he thought the atrium was a dangerous feature.

“It’s too wide,” he said. “They ought to close it off.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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