An ice cream truck driver struck a 7-year-old boy on a motorbike in South Los Angeles on Wednesday night, then was surrounded by a crowd of angry residents who smashed in the windows of his truck with bricks and beat him.
The child, who was not named, later died at an area hospital.
"I heard a big commotion, I came outside, I saw the little kid laying on the ground, and I saw the mother weeping over the child, saying, 'Oh my child, oh my God,'" a neighbor identified only as William told ABC Los Angeles.
Police say the boy was riding alongside the truck on either a motorbike or electric bicycle. The truck was traveling at about 5 mph when the boy fell and got caught under the rear wheels.
“I walked outside. He was lying on the ground bleeding, so I just tried to comfort the family ’cause they was screaming,” witness Linda Black told CBS Los Angeles. “It’s really sad because I have a kid that is younger than he is.”
Soon after, a crowd formed and began to attack the driver, using bricks and sticks to bash the windshield. Police said someone may have pulled out a knife. The boy's mother may have been involved in the attack on the driver as well, NBC Los Angeles reported.
"She has every right to," the child's uncle, Michael Harris, told NBC.
“They say it was an accident but I don’t believe that," Harris was quoted as saying. "I don’t believe that one bit, none at all.”
Police took the driver, who also has not been named, into custody -- not to arrest him, but to protect him from the crowd.
He suffered minor injuries.
Police are still investigating, but do not anticipate making any arrests, telling the Los Angeles Times that this was an "unfortunate accident."
ABC reports that the ice cream truck is believed to be unlicensed.