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Loved ones gather to remember young woman lost to violence

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 02 2013 09:02:08 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 03 2013 04:54:01 AM CST

Yolanda Morales was 23 years old when police say she was shot and killed after a fight erupted outside the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society on East 3rd Street in Bethlehem last December.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

Yolanda Morales was 23-years-old when police say she was shot and killed after a fight erupted outside the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society on East Third Street in Bethlehem last December.

Friends and family gathered on Monday to mark the first anniversary of her death.

"We're celebrating Yolanda's life in heaven, we also are celebrating this because we want to put a stop on violence,” said Amelia Torres, Morales' aunt.

Police say two men, Rene Figueroa and Javier Rivera-Alvarado, got into a fight inside the club that soon spilled out onto the streets when the gunfire rang out.

Six people, including the accused shooters, were hurt in the crossfire; Morales was the only one to lose her life.

Torres says the past year has been extremely difficult, especially for her sister, Yolanda's mother.

"Sometimes I want to say something positive to her but it doesn't matter what I say to my sister; the pain is right there,” Torres said.

Both men are facing multiple counts of attempted homicide and assault.

Prosecutors announced in April that they would seek the death penalty against Rene Figueroa, the man they say is responsible for shooting and killing Yolanda Morales.

However family members of Morales say enough blood has been shed and although they want justice, "We do not want to seek the death penalty for these guys. We believe in God and we're not going to stop violence through violence," said Torres.