TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — There’s many ways Sparkle Negron can describe her 22-year-old son Justin Burks: caring, protective, serving and loved life.
But she said the best way to describe him is with a four letter word: love.
“He was love,” Negron said. “He was love for family, for friends all around the world. He was loved wherever he went.”
Burks was Negron’s oldest child and only son. He and his sister were best friends. He also loved to travel.
Burks turned 22 July 7. He was enjoying a night out with his friends on South Howard Avenue when Tampa Police said he was shot and killed.
The shooter, later identified as 25-year-old Jarred Deon White, was detained nearby after he approached officers and said he shot someone, according to police.
“I’m not broken, but I’m hurt to my core that he’s gone,” Negron said. “My baby is gone. He’s not coming back. This is not just another trip. This is not just a little more time away from home. He’s gone.”
Negron doesn’t want her son remembered as another black man murdered in the streets, because he was more than that. She said he was a good young man, full of life and love.
She said her family and faith are helping her get through this difficult time.
“I’m trusting God in this process that his life would not have been in vain, that we get to remember him,” Negron said. “There’s purpose of my pain right now and I’m going to see to that there’s purpose in the loss of my baby. I’m going to see to it.”
Jail records showed that White was employed by the Air Force. MacDill Air Force Base confirmed that White is currently employed as a senior airman at the installation.
“MacDill officials were notified that a military member assigned to MacDill Air Force Base may have been involved in a shooting incident that took the life of another individual in the South Howard area of Tampa,” said Col. Ben Jonsson, 6 Air Refueling Wing Commander. “Our deepest condolences goes out to the family of the deceased. MacDill officials are assisting and fully cooperating with Tampa Police Department.”
White was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder and booked in the Orient Road Jail. Online records show he was released on a surety bond July 11.