A 79-year-old ice cream entrepreneur was crushed when a security gate fell on him at his Bronx store Friday morning, police say.
Alfred Thiebaud, of Yonkers, was sweeping up outside his Delicioso Coco Helado on St. Anns Avenue in Melrose when he pushed a button for the gate to come down. He apparently collapsed and the gate fell on him, police said. He was found lying near the gate shortly before 6 a.m. and pronounced dead.
Witness Samuel Rosas said he rushed to help but it was too late.
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"I called to him, 'Alfredo, you need me to help? Want to me to help you?' He was unresponsive," he said.
It wasn't clear why Thiebaud collapsed. The medical examiner will determine how he died.
The Thiebaud family has run Delicioso Coco Helado for nearly three decades, according to the company's website, and sells tropical flavored-treats at stands across New York City.
A makeshift memorial was placed outside the gate where Thiebaud died Friday. Those who knew him said he was a fixture in the community and a humble man who helped many people get work.
"Every time you asked Alfredo to do something for the community, for the baseball league or some type of community organization or event, he never said no," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. as he wiped tears from his eyes.
Rosas said Thiebaud was a "great man who gave a lot of people work, a lot of people jobs -- a humble guy, a respectable man."
"It's sad," said another man who knew Thiebaud. "I wouldn't wish that type of death on anyone."
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