GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Balloons speckled the sky Friday evening in memory of a 6-year-old killed one week ago.
The Gulfport community came together to remember and mourn Zaylan Sparkman after he died from a gunshot wound to the stomach. His older brother Albert Craft III is charged with manslaughter in the death.
Dozens of people of all ages walk side by side in memory of a life gone too soon, showing their support for the family and raising awareness about the dangers of gun violence.
"Everybody needs to pray," said Dyreion Lull.
"I feel so much love," said Jantail Thomas, who helped organize the walk. "I'm glad that they came out to really support these families,"
Christine Brice has been keeping a collection to remember victims of gun violence. Sadly, she's added another one to her notebook.
"The Lord blessed me to usher in all of those funerals, maybe about 20," said Brice. "And I thought I was not going to add anything else to my book. This happened to this little boy. He's in my heart."
For many in the crowd, this was a way to offer peace and comfort to Zaylan's grieving family.
"I have children and I have a hard life with them and my sister is now raising them and I thought I lost them and you have a situation like this where a mother has really lost her children and I still have a chance to be with my children," said Misty Karkowski.
The brief walk ended at Zaylan's home with a prayer.
A next door neighbor recounted the day the 6-year-old was shot, saying his brother tried to save him.
"He was crying and trying to save his own brother," said the neighbor. "When I say he was squeezing him, I seen the blood and I seen the shot. That boy tried to save him. It's terrible. Me and her we tried everything we can."
Zaylan's cousin said he hopes the community becomes more aware of the dangers of having guns around kids.
"What did you know about him, about both boys?" said Layth Ghazi. "Always happy. His big brother was a good kid. Just good kids. And that's the problem with it because the kids were good."
"These kids got to keep these guns out their hands," said Zaylan's neighbor, who did not give his name. "If I see any other child got something, I'm calling the police."
As Zaylan's parents prepare for the unthinkable task of burying their child, these folks say they'll continue to offer support through prayer.
Zaylan will be laid to rest Saturday at Olivet Baptist Church in Gulfport. Visitation begins at 10 a.m., with the funeral following at noon.