NEW YORK (PIX11) -- The death of Sean Bell left an emotional stain on New York City's collective conscience and nine years later, can still bring tears to the eyes of many.
Bell, a 23-year-old father of two young children, was killed in a hail of NYPD bullets. Bell lost his life on the eve of his wedding day while celebrating at Club Kalua in Queens. Former NYPD detective Gescard Isnora fired the first shot.
That cold November day in 2006 continues to haunt Isnora. But now he’s ready to confront the painful past and ask for forgiveness. He sat down for an exclusive interview with PIX11 News’ Nicole Johnson.
"I can say the cards were stacked against me that night," Isnora said. "I don’t believe there was anything I could have done differently."
It all started with an argument inside the seedy strip club then spilled outside. Bell was with two other friends that night, Jose Guzman and Trent Benefield.
Detective Isnora methodically retraced his steps:
"After Guzman said, 'Get my gun,' my partner got on the phone to call the supervisor of that night to alert him to what transpired. Then I got on the phone with the supervisor, he asked me for a description of the group. I gave him a vague description and told him things are escalating and heating up. The trio, including Bell, jumped inside a gray Nissan," Isnora recalled.
"As I approached the car, I just didn’t want the car to go anywhere. I made my presence known, very loud, my shield was on my collar. I remember the engine revving and it hit my leg and I remember, I don't know how I did not fall, just stumbled to the side. I remember telling him not to put his hands there and I fired."
Of the 50 bullets that pierced the small Nissan, 11 left Isnora’s weapon. The rest were fired from his NYPD back-up. Bell did not survive. His friends, Guzman and Benefield, were seriously injured.
New Yorkers by the thousands also had plenty to say. Streets throughout the city filled with angry protesters crying out for justice in the days following the fatal shooting. Isnora and his back-up were eventually cleared on all charges.
Nine years later, the NYPD detective Isnora explained why he agreed to to the meeting.
"To the parents, I feel like whatever they have inside their hearts that they felt if I wronged them it’s my job to face them and ask them if they forgive me," Isnora said.
For the detective, it would be the most emotional job he would ever face. He, too, shed his own tears over the years.
Watch the PIX11 News at 10 p.m. Thursday to watch their emotional face-to-face meeting.