BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (PIX11) — The Brooklyn community came together Saturday at Raymond Bush Playground to celebrate the life of Davelle Gardner Jr., who would have turned 5 years old on Sept. 2. 

The 18-month-old was gunned down while sitting in his stroller at a family barbecue in 2020.

Family, friends, and loved ones remembered him at the third annual community birthday celebration with a barbecue, keeping his memory alive.

Organizers said they hold the event to remind people of the senseless tragedy and the young life that was lost. Gardner’s father, Davelle Gardner Sr., told PIX 11 that seeing people show up to the event every year is touching.

“It means the world to me,” Gardner Sr. said. “I felt like after the first year I thought everybody would just forget. He would just be another story and every year it’s the same people, more faces, more organizations coming out showing love.”

Gardner Sr. said he’s hoping to turn his pain into purpose. He plans on starting an organization to help other families dealing with tragedy, the way other organizations were there for him and his family during their time of need.