'That was my grandbaby': Grandmother remembers slain 6-year-old - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

'That was my grandbaby': Grandmother remembers slain 6-year-old

Zanders says Zaylan's death could've been prevented. (Photo source: WLOX) Zanders says Zaylan's death could've been prevented. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The recent death of 6-year-old Zaylan Sparkman has the Gulfport community in shock.

Zaylan was shot and killed Friday night, allegedly by his older brother; 16-year-old Albert Craft, III. Two days later, the family is left coping with the loss of one child to the grave - and another one to a jail cell. 

"That was my grandbaby. We were preparing to send him to school. I had went and bought him clothes," said Sparkman's grandmother, Denise Zanders.

The grandmother of 22 is struggling with the loss of both Zaylan and his brother. 

"We don't know why he was home. His mom left him there with his brother, we don't know why. All we know is that it happened," said Denise. 

Although no details about the investigation have been released at this time, Gulfport Police Chief Leonard says the gun used to take Zaylan's life was obtained criminally. 

The boys' father - Albert Craft, II - was visibly shaken up by what happened, but was comforted prayer as he dedicated his life to Christ. 

Sparkman's family says nothing can fill that void that has been left by the shooting. Instead, they hold on to the memory of the little boy who often sang in the children's choir.

"He always told us he loved us. 'Papa, Grandma, I love you,' and now we can only take the love because we're not gonna be able to see him anymore," said Zaylan's grandfather, Frank Zanders. 

For Mrs. Zanders, Zaylan's death adds a new layer of grief to her existing heartbreak. 

"Four years ago, my own son was killed by a gun," the grandmother said. "Now my grandbaby."

Albert Craft, III is currently in custody at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. He's being charged as an adult with manslaughter and is being held on a $100,000 bond. 

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