GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A sea of people packed into the Olivet Baptist Church in Gulfport, where Zaylan Sparkman's body would be seen for the last time. Family members, dressed in white, were ushered in at the start of the service.
The Rev. Gregg S. Magee, Sr. baptized Zaylan when he was about eight months old. He's now eulogizing him eight days after he was shot and killed. His own brother reportedly fired the fatal shot.
"People have asked if I have an opinion. I don't have an opinion about this situation. I see hurting people, and I know a redeemer. I know a God that can bring about healing inside," said Magee.
Hearts were heavy and emotions were high. Family members sitting in front of Zaylan's pure white casket were still visibly shaken by his sudden death.
"Give God the chance to rock you in his arms and comfort your deepest pains," said the Rev. Devin Wade.
While grief and sadness could be felt in the air, shared memories of the vibrant 6-year-old couldn't help but make mourners smile, if only for a second. One young man recalled beat boxing while Zaylan would attempt to rap.
"He would just be singing with his eyes closed, and he didn't know the words, but he thought he was singing something. It was something coming out of his mouth," said a young girl who attended church with Zaylan.
Even through tears, it was evident Zaylan made a significant impact on many people in just six short years of life.
"He literally demonstrated what it means to have the joy of the Lord in you," said the Rev. Eddie Hartwell.