A visitor to the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday, October 6, fell to his death while sliding down a stairwell banister, the museum confirmed to Hyperallergic. Kirkland Dawson, a 34-year-old New York-based attorney, toppled over the third-floor staircase railing and landed on the ground floor, according to a police report first obtained by the New York Daily News.
The incident occurred around 9:30 pm on during the monthly “First Saturdays” program at the museum. Dawson was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. He died from his injuries the following day.
Dawson’s family told the newspaper that the museum never reached out to them to provide details about the accident or offer condolences. “I wish they would call,” the deceased’s mother, Kathy Dawson, told the Daily News. “They haven’t offered me condolences or anything,” she added. “To not even get a call saying we’re sorry or anything, nothing.”
“We’re really just hearing word of mouth what happened,” said the victim’s sister, Taylor Dawson. “We still don’t really know. No one at the museum has reached out to his mom or me,” she added. “A detective reached out to my mom and said it was a freak accident,” Dawson continued. “He was falling from some type of landing and couldn’t stop his fall from the stairwell he was on. They said he suffered brain damage and head trauma.”
“Mr. Dawson attempted to slide down a banister in one of our stairwells, causing him to fall,” the Brooklyn Museum wrote Hyperallergic in an email. ” We understand he passed away at Methodist Hospital the following day.”
“The Museum has reached out to the family to share condolences,” the museum’s statement continued. “The safety of our visitors is our top priority. We’re deeply saddened by this tragic accident, and our heartfelt thoughts are with Mr. Dawson’s family and friends, and particularly those who were with Mr. Dawson that night.”
Ryan McBride, Dawson’s former roommate, said he was talking to the deceased moments before the accident. “When I came down to the first floor security was running around everywhere,” McBride told the Daily News. “Someone had fallen. It was Kirk. Security held us back. Me and a few friends went to the hospital to provide whatever support we could.”
“He was a great guy,” McBride said of Dawson. “He was very community oriented. He really loved living in New York City. Kirk made friends everywhere. A lot of people loved him.”
“He was the best person ever,” Dawson’s mother Kathy said. “You could ask anybody.”