Video: Kids’ prank severely injures philanthropist

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    >>> in new york city a woman who devoted her life to helping children in need is fighting for her life today, the victim of a horrible prank and the suspects are the same kids she was trying to reach. nbc's stephanie gosk is at the scene this morning. good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning, ann, this is a sad story. philanthropist marianne hedges and her 13-year-old son walked out of the shopping center with bags of halloween candy in their hand, stopped to pay their parking ticket when two 12-year-olds allegedly pushed a shopping cart over the edge of a walkway. it narrowly missed her son but it struck her. she's in a hospital right now struggling for her life. the shopping cart plunged from a walkway outside target in new york 's developing east harlem neighborhood. four stories down to the ground, on top of an unsuspecting marianne hedges. her husband says she was shopping for halloween candy for underprivileged children . her 13-year-old son by her side, but unhurt, was hysterical, witnesses say, as his mother was rushed to the hospital. police used surveillance video to identify the suspects. the new york daily news reports the two 12-year-old boys live in local public housing and are from two families.

    >> horrendous, horrible what the kids do on halloween and any day.

    >> reporter: hedges' husband rushed back from overseas to be by her side. he told "the new york post" he doesn't know if his wife will recover. "it's still too early. we're hopeful. she's going to be, in the best of all cases in rehabilitation for months." the 47-year-old is a much loved philanthropist in new york city . for the last 25 years she's donated time in places like this, a community center less than a mile from the accident.

    >> she's so enthusiastic about the center and she makes other people enthusiastic and it's infectious the way she champions the center.

    >> reporter: hedges' help is invaluable here especially in a tough economy, when budgets are being slashed.

    >> it hurts. that's somebody's mother, somebody's child, and to think how she feels.

    >> reporter: for now, the good work that marion hedges was doing is on hold, because of a halloween trick that turned into a terrible tragedy. the two children are in children custody until their arraignment later on this week. newspaper reports say they are being charged with felony assault. michael hedges on his facebook page says he hopes he gets the kind of care to become responsible members of the community, the same community his wife worked so hard to improve. ann?

    >> a lot of people praying today for marion hedges. stephanie gosk, thank you so much

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/2/2011 9:50:03 AM ET 2011-11-02T13:50:03

A 47-year-old Manhattan mother was fighting for her life at Harlem Hospital on Wednesday, two days after she was struck by a shopping cart that was thrown from four stories above her at East River Plaza Mall in East Harlem.

According to police, the boys were playing around on the fourth-floor walkway of the mall when they decided to push shopping carts against the railing, New York's WNBC reported. One of the carts fell four stories down on top of Marion Salmon Hedges, who had been at the mall to shop for Halloween candy with her 13-year-old son.

The 12-year-old boys accused of throwing the shopping cart were arrested Tuesday and charged with juvenile assault. The two, who were described by neighbors as coming from underprivileged families, were turned-in by a 14-year-old friend who had tried to stop them, the New York Daily News reported.

According the NBC News' Stephanie Gosk, Hedges' husband Michael Hedges said on his facebook page that he hopes the two boys get the kind of care they need to become responsible members of the community.

"She's going to be, in the best of all cases, in rehabilitation for months," the newspaper quoted Michael Hedges as saying on Tuesday.

"She's under sedation. She's intubated. She has a thousand machines hooked up to her. It’s very disturbing," he reportedly added.

Video: Kids’ prank severely injures philanthropist (on this page)

Hedges, a real estate agent who lives on the Upper West Side, is known for her charity work, WNBC reported. She was a board member of the Samuel M. Isaacs community center and had a special interest in the youth programs. Hedges is active in her church, the Daily news reported.

"That's somebody's mother, someone's daughter," said shopper Monique Johnson, according to WNBC. "Whoever did it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent."

Director Wanda Wooton told NBC New York the situation was "unbelievable," "especially because it happened to Marion who is so giving and wonderful."

"It's horrendous," said Angelica Gonzalez, a shopper whose friend saw the aftermath of the incident. "It's horrible what these kids do."

The pranksters were charged in family court with assault as juveniles. Both live in East Harlem and neither of their families had a statement for NBC New York.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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