It happened on De Kruif Place in Co-op City around 7:15 p.m.
"I'm very devastated right now. I'm shaking inside. It's not a sight to see," Eyewitness Ashanti Valez said.
It's a sight that dozens of people wish they could erase from their minds and hearts.
Onlookers stood and watched as 4-year-old Malachi Johnson fell off his the terrace of his 23rd floor apartment in Co-Op city, and onto the grassy courtyard.
"We were walking to the dumpster. We saw his shadow, but all we heard was it's a little boy, it's a little boy," Valez said.
"Everybody turned around. People started screaming. They started crying," Eyewitness Joshua Smith said.
Some bystanders tried to help, but construction fencing was in the way.
There was no way to get to him," Eyewitness Sean Joseph said.
"My mom saw it. She jumped the fence to try to get the pulse of the little boy," said Co-Op City resident, Lisa Taylor.
Police say Malachi's mother lives in the apartment alone with her son and was in the shower at the time of the accident.
"She was just screaming and saying Oh God no, Oh God no, that was the mother," Taylor said.
City building inspectors had ordered the terraces in the building and six others closed last month after finding some with deteriorated concrete and other problems.
Residents weren't supposed to be using them until repairs were made.
A Buildings Department spokesman says the balcony that they boy fell from was sound, however, and that the accident doesn't appear to be related to any structural problems.
(the associated press contributed to this report) ---
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