Friends, family honor slain Marine, Dustin Shirk, in Phoenix

Posted at 9:55 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 08:59:18-04

Friends and family members gathered Tuesday night to honor a Phoenix Marine who was gunned down two weeks ago in a west Valley park before being found by Pokémon Go players.

The event was held to mark what would’ve been Dustin Shirk’s 31st birthday. A couple dozen people released balloons into the sky, each with personalized messages written on them.

Shirk’s mother is begging the community to bring forward any information that may help find her son’s killer. In the meantime, she is leaning on moments, like the balloon release, to cope.

“They're going to heaven and that's where he is because he was a good man, a very good man,” said Cindy Shirk, the victim’s mother.

Mitchell Mackenzie, the victim’s close friend and fellow military member, said that it’s important to gather for moments that remind them to celebrate Dustin Shirk’s life.

“He was really the kind of guy that, even if he passed, he'd still want everyone to remember him in a good light [and] not be all mopey about it,” MacKenzie said.

Dustin Shirk's funeral is scheduled for Monday, August 15, at 9 a.m. at Hansen Mortuary near 7th Street and Northern Avenue in Phoenix. His mother said the public is welcomed to attend, the honor guard will be there and her son will receive full military honors.

A GoFundMe account is set up to help with the expenses. Click here to donate.