Pictures of a smiling Justin Jamal Kennedy line a mantel and walls in the living room of his Point Breeze rowhouse. In a laminated photo of him accompanying a newspaper article, he looks fierce in his high-school football uniform.

The caption says he just scored the second of his three touchdowns in a game for G.A.R. Memorial High School in Wilkes-Barre, from which he graduated in 2005.

Kennedy, 22, was shot and killed by a police officer in Point Breeze a year ago.

Yesterday, on the anniversary of his death, his sister, Kelly Kennedy, 34, said she had one day imagined her brother to be a pro football player, as her eyes welled up with tears. A family friend, Brandon Williams, 26, recalled how Kennedy had a contagious smile.

Across the street, at K & A Sandwiches & Grocery, where Kennedy worked, cashier Cherisse Rich, 27, recalled how Kennedy was "a jokester."

Kennedy's death has left his family and friends in pain, with so many questions still unanswered.

The District Attorney's Office concluded last month that the shooting by Officer Charles Forrest was justified - that the officer reasonably thought Kennedy had a gun on him.

According to witnesses, Kennedy "kept reaching into his waistband, at the same time threatening to shoot several people," Assistant District Attorney Sybil Murphy in the D.A.'s Special Investigations Unit said earlier this month.

It was about 11:20 p.m. Dec. 17, 2008, when Kennedy was arguing with a woman inside Lid's Cafe Society, a bar at 23rd and Tasker streets. The argument spilled outside.

One witness, a 29-year-old man, said Kennedy "had too much to drink" and was "ranting," threatening to shoot people as he had his hand underneath his shirt as the crowd moved north onto Cross Street.

This witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he heard Officer Forrest say, " 'Yo!', or something" like that.

"Everything happened so fast," he said. "I had a drink in me myself. Once somebody yelled, we both turned and looked. That's when he [the officer] shot."

Murphy said, according to witnesses, that Forrest had shouted, "Don't move!" and "Stop!" before he fired his weapon after Kennedy appeared to be reaching for his waist "as if he was about to pull something out."

She said a BB gun was found "in the immediate area of where Mr. Kennedy fell," in front of a home on Cross Street near 23rd.

The D.A.'s Office could not conclude whether Kennedy had the BB gun on him before he fell. The gun was tested for prints but none was found, Murphy said.

Kennedy's family is adamant that the BB gun was not his.

"That BB gun did not belong to my son and that's why there were no fingerprints on that gun," said Kennedy's father, Joseph Kennedy, of Wilkes-Barre. "This situation could have been handled another way other than deadly force."

The witness who observed the shooting said he did not believe Kennedy had a gun on him because when Kennedy had been arguing in the bar, someone patted him down, finding no weapon.

He said after the shooting, the officer went to Kennedy and "lifted his shirt up, seen he had no gun on him, and he started crying."

Forrest, reached by phone last month, declined comment. He did not return a call this week.

The lack of fingerprints on a gun doesn't mean a person didn't handle it - Life is not like "CSI," say law-enforcement officers.

"Fingerprints are easily obscured, smudged by movement if he fell, rubbing could have made it illegible," Lt. Steve Harrison, of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said. "I wouldn't jump to a conclusion one way or another."

Kennedy's mother, Chicquita Kennedy, who lives in Maryland, said earlier this month that the D.A.'s Office's conclusion "doesn't give me satisfaction," leaving many questions still unanswered. "I know in my heart of hearts something's not right."

Yesterday, as she grieved her son's death, she said she didn't expect authorities to say anything different. "But at least in this story, I hope they know how Justin's family and his friends feel. You let Charles Forrest know I pray for him every day. . . . I pray for him, but I don't forgive him."