Cedar Rapids Homicide Victim Remembered in Vigil

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Even in the dim candlelight you could see the tears in Brittany Martin's eyes. Saturday evening, she stood in the 1800 block of B Avenue NE with a large group of others who had gathered to remember 31-year-old Clifton Sparks with a candlelight vigil.

Sparks was the father of Martin's unborn child.

"I'm angry. I don't know why. I'm just-- I'm angry. It's stupid," Martin said.

It was there on B, Sparks was found lying in the street at 12:30, Tuesday morning. He was later pronounced dead. Police said he suffered a traumatic injury, but declined to give more information over concern it might hinder their homicide investigation.

While officials work, loved ones mourn. Those who knew Sparks described him as a friendly man, who was a lot of fun to be around.

"He used to joke a lot, play a lot, very outgoing. If you needed anything he was there for you. He might not have come on time, but he definitely came and looked out for you," said friend, Lasha Lekin.

Darlesha Flowers, the mother of Sparks' four-year-old daughter, said he was a devoted and loving father. She was heartbroken over the loss and begging anyone with information about Sparks' death to come forward and tell police.

"Please. If anybody knows anything, I just want them to come and tell so that we can get some closure, because it's killing my daughter," Flowers said.

For now, closure is out of reach. Friends and family of Sparks, like soon to be mother Martin, will have to make do with warm embraces and the memories of a man they said they'll never forget.

"I don't have words to say. It's sad. I'm going to miss him," Martin said.

Sparks' death marks the third homicide in Cedar Rapids this year.

Police have said they need the public's help to determine exactly what happened Tuesday morning. A lingering question revolves around whether Sparks was attacked on B Avenue, or left there by attackers. Those with information are asked to contact Cedar Rapids police.
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