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Sean Bell parents’ vigil ends – QNS.com

Sean Bell parents’ vigil ends

By Craig Giammona

The event took place at the Community Church of Christ on 108th Avenue in Jamaica, where Bell was to marry Nicole Paultre the day he was killed by police.Instead the church became the site of Bell's funeral.Valerie and William Bell, joined by about 150 supporters and a marching band from Brooklyn, walked from the 103rd Precinct up Merrick Boulevard and on to the church, all the while reiterating calls for the officers involved in Bell's shooting death to be indicted. A grand jury empaneled by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has been reviewing evidence and hearing testimony in the case for several weeks, but there has been little news about the closed-door proceedings.”They're running a real tight ship” is how one source with knowledge of the situation put it.Joseph Guzman, who was in the car with Bell the night he died and suffered 17 gun shot wounds, said Monday he expects to testify before the grand jury in coming weeks. Guzman was pushed in a wheelchair during the march, but once at the church he attempted to stand up and walk inside under his own power. He eventually reconsidered and was wheeled into the building. Trent Benefield, the third man in Bell's car was also on hand Monday. Benefield, who was also shot by police, walked into the church on crutches and received a standing ovation as he took his seat.The three men were leaving Club Kalua in downtown Jamaica following Bell's bachelor party on Nov. 25 when officers fired 50 shots at their car, killing Bell and seriously injuring Benefield and Guzman. At the front of Monday's march was a large sign emblazoned with Bell's face and 50 faux bullet holes. The sign, which anchored the 24 hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week vigil outside the 103rd Precinct read: “Never Again.” Valerie Bell, who said she was still numb nearly three months after her son was killed, vowed to continue fighting for justice. “We're going on in Jesus' name,” she said.Bell also thanked the supporters who stood with her during the 50-day vigil, which began on Jan. 1 during a stretch of unseasonably warm days and continued through the coldest period of the year.Speaking from the church's pulpit, Bell said she did not want to call out the names of individual supporters. Instead she asked anyone who had stood at the vigil to stand as most of the church rose to its feet.”Without God I would not be able to stand,” Bell said. “Thank you for your support and thank God.”Reach reporter Craig Giammona by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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