Neighbors seek to comfort family of Draper toddler killed during family vacation

Published: Monday, June 9 2014 9:00 p.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, June 9 2014 9:34 p.m. MDT

DRAPER — Blue ribbons were tied to light posts and trees throughout the neighborhood.

Freshly planted flowers and messages of love adorned the Shelton family's home.

"It's probably one of the most powerful things I've ever been a part of in my life," Jordan Wilkins said.

Two-year-old Kayson Shelton was killed last week after a 6-foot-tall dolphin statue fell on him in the popular San Francisco tourist spot Fisherman's Wharf.

The toddler was playing when he climbed up and apparently wrapped his arms and legs around the heavy structure outside the Majestic Collection Art Gallery on Friday when it came down, San Francisco police spokesman Gordon Shyy said Monday.

When emergency crews arrived on the scene, the boy was initially treated for a nose bleed and taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Kayson died from serious internal injuries a few hours later, Shyy said.

Kayson was visiting San Francisco with his mother, father, older sister and other family members while on vacation and had been staying at a nearby hotel, Shyy said.

"It's an unfortunate and tragic incident," he said.

Kayson's father, Scott Shelton, is a podiatrist who went to school in the Bay Area. Shelton told NBC Bay Area that he and his family were walking down Jefferson Street when his son walked up to the dolphin statue.

"He wanted to jump up and touch it," Shelton said in a telephone interview, "and he stepped with a foot on the base of it, and the statue came down on top of him."

The statue was so heavy that Shelton needed help to lift it off his son.

"He had a bloody nose at first, which stopped," he said, "and we thought he was going to be OK."

Just minutes later, the boy passed out and an ambulance was called. Doctors were unable to save him.

Neighbors said Kayson showed a light and temperance beyond his years. Wilkins saw it in the 2-year-old's friendship with her son.

"Kayson walks over to him, he puts his hands on his knees, bends down and just says, 'Come with me,' … and holds his hand. And they walked hand in hand all the way home," she said.

Kayson's uncle Sam Delahunty called the toddler's death "a tragedy."

"This is something that the family is reeling over," Delahunty said.

Police say the gallery had been warned about the danger of putting sculptures on the sidewalk.

"Last year during the America's Cup, this specific business was advised about this statue," Shyy said.

But the gallery ignored the warning, police said.

Shelton said the sculpture was an irresistible attraction for any toddler.

"I think any 2-year-old would go toward anything like that," he told NBC Bay Area.

Delahunty said Kayson's parents are not the type of people to "point the finger at anything."

Relatives say they're instead focusing on their faith, and they're taking heart in the love their neighbors have shown.

"Their hand in Scott and Toni's tragedy has just been amazing," Delahunty said. "This is a wonderful community."

It's a measure of solace for a life cut short.

"He's just like his parents, just like his family," Wilkins said. "And that makes it that much harder."

A fundraising website has been set up for Kayson's family to help with funeral expenses and other costs.

As of Monday evening, nearly $10,500 had been raised toward the $15,000 goal. Donations can be made online at http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/kayson-shelton/188172.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Bay City News

Email: aadams@deseretnews.com, Twitter: AndrewAdamsKSL

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