A memorial service has been set for Pace University football player Danroy “D.J.” Henry on what would have been his 21st birthday, Oct. 29. Days before the service, Henry’s friends remembered the spirited sports star’s spirituality and kindness.

“D.J. had a strong belief in guardian angels,” said Chantele Hosein, one of his close friends, in an interview with BlackAmericaWeb.com. “ One day before a police officer killed Henry, Hosein said she spoke with him about a tattoo she was designing that included an angel, a football, his jersey number, 12, and praying hands with his mother’s name underneath. “I’ve completed the artwork now,” Hosein continued.

Christopher Cory, executive director of public information at Pace, said students and staff have been moved by the popular student’s death. Friends of the Massachusetts native say police were responding to a disturbance call and shot Henry while he moved his car out of a parking lane.

“The depth of emotion being shown by the students is impressive,” Cory told BlackAmericaWeb.com.