This past Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Nov 25, 2016, the parents and former fiancé of Sean Bell celebrated the life of the 23-year-old father of two, who was gunned down in a hail of 50 bullets by three NYPD officers 10 years ago. An overnight vigil and bowling event was hosted by Nicole Paultre-Bell, who Bell was set to marry that very day a decade ago. His parents William and Valerie held a gathering at the site of his killing on the now renamed Sean Bell Way (formerly known as Liverpool Street, between 94th Avenue and 95th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens).

Assemblyman Charles Barron and Councilwoman Inez Barron joined Bell attorney Neville Mitchell, WBLS host Bob Lee, community activists and mothers who had traveled from as far as Washington, D.C., to pay respects to the man whose death had the city in an uproar as the community demanded justice. Ultimately, the three officers were acquitted during a bench trial. Valerie Bell insisted, as in her book “Sean Bell—Just 23,” that she is celebrating her son’s life.

“He was more than his death,” she said. “There was a life before his death. We are celebrating that.”