BOSTON (CBS 2) — Two weeks after the Pace University community was stunned by the death of a student shot by police, friends and family of Danroy “DJ” Henry had their chance to say goodbye.
On the day Danroy Henry would have celebrated his birth, loved ones instead celebrated his life.
“Anyone who knew Danny knew he had his priorities straight,” cousin Mark Hanson said. “’Family first’ – these weren’t just words tattooed on his body, they were his creed.”
Hundreds packed a Boston convention center to say goodbye to the Pace University junior whose life was snatched away two weeks before he would have turned 21 years old.
“DJ often wore an Angels hat, not to symbolize the sports franchise but to symbolize his faith,” uncle Fred Henry said. “With the angels blocking for DJ, I can see him running down the sideline, and into the end zone.”
Henry was shot and killed by police outside a Thornwood bar during a disturbance. What led to the fatality is hotly disputed by police and witnesses.
“It’s nauseating, it really is nauseating,” friend Caitlin Cleary said.
“I mean, it’s just so horrible,” Sara Roberts, a family friend, said.
On Friday, where a football and helmet reminded all of the teammate he was a pace, his teammates were bused in.
“If you knew him, you probably loved him – he was just that type of guy,” teammate Gage Morris said.
Friends and family signed memory boards at the remembrance and tried to focus on the positive.
“We’re trying to celebrate his life, because he was always a smiling kind of guy. He wouldn’t want all of us to just cry all the time,” teammate Lamar Francis said.
On a day of sadness and song, there were stories of DJ’s confidence, spirituality, and pride of his Boston roots.
Amidst the sadness, a debate rages over facts and the integrity of the investigation.
“There are at least four, and probably five, shots,” Henry family attorney Michael Sussman said.
Sussman claims the first shot came into the car’s hood at an angle, suggesting the officer wasn’t in harm’s way as initially thought, and that the police shouldn’t be investigating themselves.
“There’s absolutely no excuse for local agencies, which lack the expertise, to be charged with this investigation – none whatsoever,” Sussman said.
There was plenty of heartache at the memorial service, but it was matched by the recognition of a life well-lived.