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Queens Residents Respond To Shooting Death Of Neighbor By Police

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TWC News: Queens Residents Respond To Shooting Death Of Neighbor By Police
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With questions swirling about a police shooting that left a 23-year-old groom-to-be dead, residents in his Far Rockaway neighborhood wanted an explanation Sunday. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

The Far Rockaway home of Sean Bell and his fiancŽe, Nicole Paultre, was supposed to be brimming with well-wishers and family Sunday, dropping in to wish the high school sweethearts well after a long-awaited wedding that was supposed to take place Saturday night.
Instead, the vast home was quiet, its residents mourning the loss of Bell, who was shot and killed by police early Saturday morning.

“It's a shame; it's ridiculous,” said Bell’s neighbor, Elizabeth White. “I mean, he didn't get a chance to live his life.”

Bell was shot by five police officers after a bachelor party at Club Kalua in Jamaica, after his car hit an undercover officer and an unmarked police van. Two friends were also shot, Joseph Guzman at least 11 times and Trent Benefield three times. Police later found that the men were unarmed. And a grand jury is investigating the incident, but residents in Far Rockaway say the shooting is typical of a police department that has got a tense relationship with the neighborhood.

“Fifty shots are a lot,” said area resident Sterling Delano. “I was in the Marine Corp, and you don't need 50 shots to take somebody down.”

“Police is getting away with murder out here,” added resident Antoine Rogers. “Police do anything they want to do in Far Rockaway. They come pull people over, no reason. They come, stop little kids sitting outside the store; they just finished buying candy, they searching them up, 14, 13-years old.”

Neighbors here in Far Rockaway who knew Bell described him as a good kid, a former high school baseball star, a quiet guy who was looking forward to getting married.

“[He was a] sweet guy, nice guy, clean, decent, outgoing, never bothered anybody,” said Bell’s neighbor, Maria Soto.

“I used to see him come to the store all the time,” added another of Bell’s neighbors, Shaquiell Thomas. “I used to be on the same block, 27th Street, he used to come up here all the time. He used to be cool, never bothered anybody; he used to be cool.

-Amanda Farinacci
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