Resident organizing walk to remember Zaylan

Resident organizing walk to remember Zaylan

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport residents are organizing a show of support for the family of 6-year-old Zaylan Sparkman, who was shot and killed in his home on Friday.

Jantail Thomas operates a daycare and loves children. Since learning about what happened to Zaylan, Thomas has been thinking about his mother.

"Just imagine what she's going through. She lost two children, not just one," Thomas said.

Thomas is helping organize Walking for Zaylan. She hopes people from all walks of life will gather on Friday night to support the family Zaylan leaves behind.

Thomas said, "We are here for her and him for whatever they need."

This isn't the first time Thomas has stepped up for a grieving family. Three years ago she brought people together to remember murdered 5-year-old Janaya Thompson. It's a role she hoped wouldn't repeat itself.

"I promise to God I don't won't to be here standing in front of the camera again, and having to go see this lady grieving and to hug her and say, 'I'm sorry,'" Thomas said.

Along with supporting Zaylan's family, Thomas is encouraging people to take part in the walk to bring awareness to gun violence.

"Children don't know what they're doing with guns," said Thomas. "They just see a gun and think they're going to shoot it. They don't know the outcome of a gun until it's too late."

Thomas also wants to let parents know steps can be taken to prevent losing loved ones far too soon.

"Check those children. If they're out there running the streets and hanging with people they don't have business hanging out with, then do your own investigation in your own house. Go through drawers and closets to make sure they don't have something they don't have any business having, and get it out of there. Let's try to prevent this from happening again," said Thomas.

Walking for Zaylan begins Friday at 6 p.m. People are invited to walk from the park behind the Isiah Fredericks Head Start to Zaylan's home for a candle light vigil and balloon release.

Memorial services for Zaylan are scheduled for Saturday at Olivet Baptist Church. Visitation starts Saturday at 10 a.m. and the funeral service will begin at noon.

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