SALEM (CBS) – Salem State University presented a diploma to the parents of one of its students who was supposed to graduate Saturday. Christopher Joyce was killed two weeks ago by gunfire not intended for him.

It was a bittersweet day for a grieving family. Christopher’s mom and dad fought back tears as they accepted the diploma for their son.

He was a shining star, 23 years old and the first college graduate in the family.

salem Parents Accept College Diploma For Son Killed In Jamaica Plain Shooting

Christopher Joyce’s parents accept diploma from Salem State University (WBZ-TV)

“It was tears of joy, tears of sadness,” said Natasha Steele, Christopher’s aunt. “But we know Chris is with us still. And he’s watching us and we’re gonna keep this going because Chris lives in all of us. He is the best. We miss him so much.”

Chris was an innocent victim that night in Jamaica Plain, caught in gang related crossfire that also killed another innocent man, Clayborn Blair, a father of three.

Days later, Joyce’s mother shared her heartache with WBZ.

“He was just stopping by the neighborhood to say hello. Last day at school. The next day was my 40th birthday, we were planning celebration after celebration,” said Raeshaunna Armstrong. “We’re hurt, we’re broken, we’re broken.”

joyce Parents Accept College Diploma For Son Killed In Jamaica Plain Shooting

Christopher Joyce (WBZ-TV)

Now, despite the pain, Chris’ memory is celebrated; pride and pain on the same day.

“And to see my sister and my brother in law go up on stage was like, wow, Chris really did it,” Steele said.

A 28-year-old man from Dorchester is being held in the murders of Joyce and Blair.

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