TAMPA BAY - Friday morning, family and friends of a slain security guard gathered to say a final goodbye.
His funeral took place at the St. Mark Evangelist Catholic Church on Cross Creek Boulevard in Tampa at 10:00 a.m.
Security officers from several different organizations were there to support Michael Valentin's family. His brother-in-law, Mario Sanchez, spoke about Valentin's heart for his community, calling him an honorable man who loved his family and neighbors.
Major Hector Rodriguez with CIS told those gathered at the funeral that Valentin never lost sight of the reason he entered the security profession: he wanted to help.
Valentin grew up in a rough Brooklyn neighborhood, not unlike the area where 16-year-old Larry Brown bounced from house to house. Brown, accused of killing Valentin, has charges dating all the way back to when he was just 10.
Twenty-two arrests later, he's now charged with murder which, occurred right after his release from juvenile jail, while a probation officer monitored him daily.
Brown's mother has a criminal history herself -- and police couldn't even find his father.
Now he may spend the rest of his life in jail -- while Valentin's family spends the rest of their life without him.
Valentin's wife, Shanequa, says she is thankful for Brown's arrest.
"We, the family, are extremely grateful for the diligent work of the Tampa Police Department (TPD). They were able to apprehend the individual responsible for Michael's murder and now justice will be served. We are taking this time to celebrate Michael's life. We are very proud of Michael and the service he has provided these communities," she said in a statement.
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