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A two-year-old Utah boy visiting San Francisco with his parents was killed over the weekend when a large statue of a dolphin he had climbed on outside a San Francisco fine art and antique store toppled over.
Police said two year-old Kayson Shelton climbed a six foot-tall dolphin statue on display on the sidewalk outside Majestic Gallery in the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco. Investigators said the boy's older sister tried to stop him - but the statue fell on him.
Witnesses said the Sheltons left the gallery but Kayson suddenly collapsed across the street. "They must've made it 15, 20 feet to the other side of Taylor Street… That's where I saw him," said Topher Evans, a street vendor who sells boat rides to Alcatraz Island.
Kayson died later at San Francisco General Hospital. Police say the family returned home to Utah.
In a statement, the owners of Majestic Gallery said, "This is an unfortunate and tragic incident. Majestic Collection is and has been co-operating with all investigative agencies. Our hearts and prayers are with the family."
Police said Majestic Gallery has turned over store surveillance video. The owner of Majestic Gallery was cited for violating code that mandates stores keep merchandise behind a blue line painted on Fisherman's Wharf sidewalks. That line extends about eight inches from storefront walls.
"They can't put merchandise outside a certain area of their storefront," said San Francisco Police Department spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy. "This is a very heavily travelled area so the Port Authority has created some guidelines where they can place their merchandise. That way it doesn't impede the traffic for a number of pedestrians maybe walking."
It's not the first time Majestic Gallery has come to the attention of police. "Last year during the America's Cup they were warned by the police department about where they were placing their merchandise," said Shyy.
Vendors say police and port officials on Sunday cracked down on all stores displaying items on Fisherman's Wharf sidewalks. "The Port's [usually] pretty cool about it, they don't harass us vendors in booths or even the statue people," said Evans. "They came yesterday - all the statues are gone."
In a posting on the family’s website the parents of Kayson Shelton wrote:
“Our hearts are greatly saddened at the loss of Kayson Shelton. On Friday, June 6, 2014 Kayson was on a walk with his family at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California when a statue fell over on him and crushed him. “The last words he spoke in this life were "I love you," the post continued. “Such a beautiful and loving child, and while we are greatly comforted in the knowledge that families are forever, we will dearly miss his smiling face until then.”
The Shelton family has set up a website to raise money for his funeral.