‘Evil, straight evil:’ Couple heartbroken to find memorial for infant son vandalized

Gabriel Torres-Shelby died in crash in 2018
Angel Shelby called the apparent vandalism to his son's memorial "straight evil."
Angel Shelby called the apparent vandalism to his son's memorial "straight evil."(Source: Andrea Lopez)
Updated: Oct. 29, 2019 at 1:14 AM EDT
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two Tucson parents are heartbroken after finding the memorial for their son in a mess over the weekend.

Gabriel Torres-Shelby was killed in a car wreck on the south side in April of 2018. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said the infant and his father, in the driver’s seat, were thrown from the car.

“Somebody was driving 95-miles per hour," Torres-Shelby told KOLD News 13 in August. "T-boned my husband and my baby. They both got thrown from the vehicle.”

[ UPDATE: Mission Road back open after fatal crash ]

Since losing their son, Torres-Shelby and Angel Shelby have worked to keep his memory alive on Mission Road. Next to a sign with the infant’s picture, there is a cross, statues, stuffed animals and toys.

“His lights get stolen regularly. The solar lights, regularly," said Torres-Shelby. "But nothing ever like this.”

Nothing ever like what they found Saturday after a woman shared photos of the memorial in a pile Saturday morning. Andrea Lopez, who shared the photos on social media and with KOLD News 13, said she was driving home from the grocery store when she saw the mess.

For Gabriel’s dad, the sight was heartbreaking.

“Evil, straight evil. Straight horrible," said Shelby.

Shelby showed KOLD News 13 the destruction Monday. A fence that once surrounded the small memorial off Mission Road near Irvington Place was knocked over and several statues were destroyed, Shelby said. There also appeared to be large slashes through a sign with Gabriel’s face and an important message from the family.

“Tried stabbing it or something, I can’t figure out what they were doing," said Shelby. "But this whole banner, this is my son’s name and it seems like they were going for that.”

[ Tucson family honors late son on his birthday by giving back ]

“We already lost our son and for people to come and destroy him memorial, oh we. It’s pretty horrible," said Shelby.

Torres-Shelby said the family plans to put the memorial back together and thanked the community for all the support on social media.

“He’s going to be with us forever. We’re going to keep his name out there, keep advocating for him, keep pushing everything and helping other children," said Torres-Shelby.

A spokesperson for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said a deputy did respond to the reported vandalism over the weekend.

The family is asking anyone with information about what happened or who could be responsible for the reported vandalism to call PCSD or 88-CRIME.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.