E. Tennessee couple grieves niece’s death in California bar shooting

Tennessee News
COVER PHOTO_CA shooting victim Morristown connection_1109_1541805671394.JPG_61627610_ver1.0_640_360_1541819516650.jpg.jpg

A Morristown couple is sharing their story of grief and a message on life. Their niece was one of the victims in Wednesday night’s attack at a California bar that took 12 innocent lives.

Noel Sparks died in that shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill. She was 21 years old.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel sat down with Noel’s aunt and uncle, Patty and Mike Sparks, who live in Morristown.

They say they’re still numb, in shock and grief-stricken. They’re remembering their niece Noel as a good girl with a big heart.

“She took care of anybody and everybody around her. She had the sweetest heart, the biggest smile,” Patty Sparks said. “She was just a really good person.”

Noel Sparks was one of the victims in the latest mass shooting to rock our country. Her aunt and uncle reflecting on her life today – a life, they say, taken far too soon.

“We’re both in shock. We didn’t think it would ever happen to a member of our family and we’re still reeling,” Mike said. 

The 21-year-old college student lived in Thousand Oaks, California. Her family members described her as kind, bubbly and artistic. 

Her aunt and uncle saying she was passionate about dance, music and the outdoors, and also active in her church.

“She was the kind of girl that if you were the mother of sons, she’s the one you’d wish they’d bring home to you,” said Patty. 

Noel’s aunt kept up with her on Facebook.

She sent her a message after hearing about the shooting.

“I instant-messaged her, ‘Noel please let me know you’re ok.’ And nothing….crickets,” Patty said.

Around 4 o’clock Thursday afternoon, they got news from Mike’s brother that every family dreads. The pair is now spreading a message to enjoy time with your family and hold them close. 

“You never know when a tragedy will hit you. And you need to do what Noel did: Live your life to the fullest. Be as kind as you can be. And leave a good legacy,” said Patty, holding back tears. 

A life lost to a tragedy as this is never easy, especially for the family. 

Patty and Mike Sparks said Noel’s family hasn’t yet finalized her funeral arrangements. They do plan on going to California to see their niece laid to rest. 

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