Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Slain Boy's Family: 'No Reason for This'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Slain Boy's Family: 'No Reason for This'

Article excerpt

Three-year-old Robert Keith Sparrow Jr. didn't understand what

was happening during the Monday afternoon robbery that ended

in his abduction and death, his grandfather said yesterday.

Robert was playing with his brother when three gunmen burst

into his father's Logan Street home, said the Rev. John Guns of

St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, where Robert's family

worships.

Police said the invaders were looking for money and drugs.

"Here is a child that was turned into a bargaining chip, a pawn

in the game of adults," Guns said.

Robert's grandfather, Hurbert Watson Jr., cried yesterday as he

described the pain of Robert's death.

"There was no reason for them to do this," Watson said. "I

just want them to be found."

Robert was kidnapped as "insurance" by the gunmen, police said.

The boy, of the 5000 block of Cleveland Road, was found dead

about 9 p.m. in the front seat of a car parked at Ella and Tyler

streets. The car had been stolen during the robbery. Police

don't know how Robert was killed.

At a news conference with Robert's grandparents and

great-grandparents yesterday, Guns promised to turn grief about

Robert's death into action.

"This is unnecessary, and the fact that we are all here today

says that we are a community in crisis," he said.

"Drug dealing has to stop. It has to at least be addressed from

a community standpoint," Guns said, though he wouldn't link

Robert's death to drugs.

Guns said no funeral arrangements have been made for Robert. A

fund has been established at Barnett Banks to help Robert's

family pay for the funeral.

Guns scheduled a community meeting at the church, 3738 Winton

Drive, at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Police continued searching yesterday for Jason Demetrius

Stephens, 24, of the 3100 block of Winton Drive. …

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