LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – “He was a jokester. He liked to have fun and live life. He was the average teenager trying to find his way.”
“I thank God for the 17 years we did have.”
Justin Burgie and Anita Williams speak fondly of their son, Jayden Christopher Burgie.
Justin said he was traveling back to Little Rock from Dallas when he got the call that his 17-year-old boy’s life had been taken by gunfire…
It was a Friday evening in Little Rock. April 8, 2016.
Around 5:30 p.m., Little Rock Police said they were called to a shooting at the Briarwood Apartments near I-630 and Rodney Parham.
There they found Jayden in the parking lot, murdered just outside his home where he lived with his mother. Police said he had been shot multiple times in the upper torso.
“It’s the hardest thing in my life I’ve went through, to see…” Anita said.
“Everything happens for a reason. I just don’t know what this reason would be,” Justin added.
Jayden was a junior at Hall High School and an aspiring musician.
The teen’s family and friends rallied together, pleading to anyone with information to step forward, but their efforts went unanswered. Police had no suspects and no leads.
In September 2016, five months had passed with no arrest in Jayden’s death, and Jayden’s family decided to offer up a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
In December 2016, Jayden’s family and friends celebrated what would have been his 18th birthday. With still no answers and voids left in their hearts, Jayden’s family decided to double the cash reward to $10,000. They said that was the only birthday present they wanted for Jayden — justice.
It was supposed to be the birthday where Jayden became an adult, where a boy becomes a man, and he was robbed of that.
“We were supposed to be planning for college, doing something totally different than what we’re doing here now,” Justin said at the time.
He expressed the need for something to be done.
“Jayden is not here to talk anymore so we have to talk for him… It’s not fair for him to be walking around and Jayden to be where he is,” Justin said, of the suspect.
Now, just shy of one year later, Jayden’s death remains a mystery, but his family is not stopping. At last report, Jayden’s family was working with Hall High School to set up a scholarship in his honor.
Jayden’s obituary read, in part, “He was an intelligent young man with aspirations and goals he wanted to achieve to make a better life for him and his family… and though he is no longer with us, we realize he is in a much better place than the world we currently live.”
And at the end, a simple, yet powerful quote:
“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you know anything about Jayden Burgie’s death, please call the Little Rock Police Department.