STAPLES Center death ruled an accident

STAPLES Center death ruled an accident

Published Nov. 24, 2010 9:42 a.m. ET

By Andrew Blankstein
Los Angeles Times

The L.A. County coroner has determined that the death of a toddler who fell from a luxury box at STAPLES Center after a Lakers game Sunday was an accident.

An autopsy of Lucas Anthony Tang determined the 2-year-old died of multiple traumatic injuries but found no evidence of foul play.

Lucas posed with his parents and his 11-year-old sister in front of a glass barrier meant to protect fans from the steep drop below. But as the family reviewed the pictures on their digital camera, they lost track of Lucas. In the moments that followed, the toddler somehow made his way over the barrier. He plummeted nearly 30 feet, landing on a row of empty plastic seats.

Lucas, who would have turned 3 in January, was pronounced dead at a hospital early Monday morning.

David Lara, a spokesman for the L.A. Department of Building and Safety, said the luxury box barriers fully complied with building codes when STAPLES Center was built and still do today.

The Los Angeles Police Department's juvenile division has launched an investigation into Lucas' death, which it said is routine in such a case.

A person who knows the family told The Times that the parents had kept a close eye on Lucas, who spent most of the game on his mother's lap.