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(NECN: Kenneth Craig, Auburn, Mass.) - Inside this Auburn, Massachusetts Sears, the escalators where it all happened are still off-limits after an accident Friday that left a 4-year-old Dudley boy dead.
"You can never expect something like that to happen in an instant," said shopper Gwen Bishop. "It's tragic."
The incident unfolded around 6:30 Friday night at the Auburn Mall department store. Inside, authorities say the young boy fell from the escalator on the second floor, reportedly after grabbing the moving railing with both hands then was somehow pulled between the escalator before falling 18 feet on to a display case. All of it happened in front of his family and friends.
"It's terrible, it's terrible," said Bishop. "I feel bad for his family."
Emergency responders brought the 4-year-old to UMass Memorial in Worcester, where he died Saturday night.
Authorities identified the boy as Mark Dibona. His family declined to comment, but neighbors say they'll never forget him.
"Cute little guy, dark hair walk behind his mom running or whatever she'd chase him," said neighbor Deborah Szczypien.
Friends say the little boy was known as Marky, and that the tragedy has everybody in a state of shock.
"We'll just pray for them," said neighbor Marion Kessley. "That's all I can do, it's just unfortunate."
The exact circumstances around the accident are still unclear. State Police will continue to investigate as family and friends try to piece together how something like could happen.
"I just hope they come up with a solution so it doesn't happen to somebody else," said Kessler.