Police vehicles at William Penn Park. Courtesy OnScene.TV
Police vehicles at William Penn Park. Courtesy OnScene.TV

The family of a woman who died when an 80-foot tree fell on her and other members of her daughter’s wedding party in Whittier thanked the community Tuesday for its support in the aftermath of the tragedy.

“Our hearts are broken. What started as a happy day for our family ended in terrible sadness,” according to a family statement released through the law firm Andrade Gonzalez. “We are all still trying to understand how this could have happened.

In this time of grief, we are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the community. We continue to ask for our family’s privacy to be respected.”

The tree toppled over at William Penn Park in the 13900 block of Penn Street about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Margarita Mojarro, 61, of San Pedro, died at a hospital. A 4-year-old girl, reported to be a niece of the bride, was hospitalized in critical condition with head trauma and a half-dozen other people were treated at a hospital for injuries not considered life-threatening.

The park is a popular photo-taking spot because of its mature trees. The wedding party was apparently posing for pictures at the time the tree fell.

The park has been closed indefinitely by the city until a certified arborist can determine what caused the tree to fall and evaluate other trees to ensure the public’s safety.

Authorities suspect a storm that dropped 1.85 inches of rain on Whittier last Thursday and Friday, coupled with the lingering drought, caused the tree’s collapse.

–City News Service 

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