Harrison County

Celebration of life for ‘little baby Zaylan:’ ‘He’s gone to be with the Lord.’

Services for 6-year-old Zaylan Sparkman were held Saturday, Aug, 12, 2017 at Olivet Baptist Church in Gulfport.
Services for 6-year-old Zaylan Sparkman were held Saturday, Aug, 12, 2017 at Olivet Baptist Church in Gulfport. jclark@sunherald.com

It’s been more than a week since a 6-year-old boy was, according to signed affidavits, playing video games when he was shot and killed by his 16-year-old brother.

Funeral services for Zaylan Sparkman were held Saturday at Olivet Baptist Church on Klein Road. Zaylan died Friday, Aug. 4 from a gunshot wound to the stomach.

A light rain started to fall as the white limousine carrying Zaylan’s immediate family pulled into the church’s parking area. But as soon as the family lined up to enter the church, a ray of sunlight broke through the dark clouds over Orange Grove and beamed brightly over the church.

Many of Zaylan’s friends and family wore T-shits adorned with a collage of photos, including one with Zaylan and Spider-Man. Others wore T-shirts with airbrushed photos of Zaylan.

“God doesn’t judge a life by quantity but by quality and in his six years with us, we know Zaylan had a high quality of life.”

The Rev. Eddie Hartwell, owner of Hartwell’s Christian Mortuary and Funeral Home, officiated the celebration of Zaylan’s life in front of a standing-room-only crowd. Hartwell said “baby Zaylan loved the Lord.”

“This is a bittersweet occasion as many of us will miss little baby Zaylan, but we can find comfort in knowing he’s gone to be with the Lord,” Hartwell said. “God doesn’t judge a life by quantity but by quality, and in his six years with us, we know Zaylan had a high quality of life.”

Zaylan’s interment followed the service. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Gulfport.

Albert Deonta Craft III, Zaylan’s brother, was arrested on a charge of manslaughter for the shooting death.

The shooting happened in the family’s home on Sabine Street. Police say Craft wanted to scare Zaylan with a gun.Craft pulled the trigger once and the gun did not fire. The second time Craft pulled the trigger, the gun fired a bullet into Zaylan’s stomach, according to police statements.

Sun Herald staff writer Anita Lee contributed to this report.

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