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GONZALES, LA (WAFB) -
A 7-year-old Gonzales girl was hit and killed by a train while playing on the tracks, according to the Gonzales Police Department. (Police have corrected the girls age, they first reported her to be 6-years-old)
Police identified her as Shawn'kell Patterson.
The tragic accident happened just after 6 p.m. on the railroad tracks near North Tobey Avenue and West Tom Street in Gonzales.
Witnesses told police Patterson and her sisters were walking home from a basketball game. We're told they were playing on the tracks, but the two older girls got out of the way when they saw the train coming, but their little sister froze in shock and was hit.
"We was inside cleaning up, and by the time we got there we knew something had happened because they was all hysterical," said Redina Lee. "She went to praying. She said, 'Pray for me that my sister survives,' and all we could do was to pray....me and another one of the ladies."
Patterson was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson said his officers are investigating how and why the little girls were alone on the tracks. Jackson also hopes this tragedy can serve as a lesson to everyone.
"We as a community, need to educate our kids on...keep them away from the track. It's a serious machine, and as you can tell it takes a while for it to come to a complete stop," said Jackson.
The administration and faculty of Carver School of Gonzales where Shawn'kell Patterson was enrolled as a second grade student has set up an account to assist her family with the expenses that they will incur associated with this tragic event. Anyone wishing to make a donation to this account may do so at any Capitol One bank branch location.