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Mother killed by gargoyle falling from Chicago church

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Sarah Bean, 34, was killed after a piece of a gargoyle plummeted three stories from a Chicago church and hit her squarely on the head.(Photo: Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune; Family)

Sarah Bean, 34, was killed after a piece of a gargoyle plummeted three stories from a Chicago church and hit her squarely on the head.(Photo: Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune; Family)

CHICAGO (Chicago Tribune) — Sarah Bean was just a few blocks from her South Loop home Thursday, walking to lunch with her boyfriend before starting a late shift at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

After spending years and raising two children together, the couple had decided to marry, her family said.

Several stories above, a piece of decorative metal came loose from the outside wall of Second Presbyterian Church, a century-plus-old architectural jewel that in recent years had been hit with a number of building violations. The metal fell and knocked off a chunk of stone from a gargoyle jutting from a corner of the church’s southeast tower, city officials said.

The stone hit Bean, 34, squarely on the head as she walked along the sidewalk outside the church, killing her almost instantly, according to officials and witnesses to the noontime tragedy.

Her boyfriend, Lance Johnson, fell by her side, screaming and holding his hands to his head, said Broderick Adams, who watched from his fifth-floor apartment across the street before running out to help.

“I saw that crack on her head and thought, ‘She’s definitely dead,’“ Adams said.

Click here to read more from the Chicago Tribune.