Hundreds gather for vigil in remembrance of Monae Turnage

Sources: gun did not belong to police officer

There are still no criminal charges against a Baltimore City police officer who has been suspended in the wake of the shooting death of 13-year-old Monae Turnage.

On Wednesday, more than 200 family members, friends and classmates gathered for a vigil to remember her.  Monae's mother said she couldn't believe the size of the crowd.  "I know Monae is a loving child," she said.  "I know that she made friends. But today I really see you all out here showing your support towards her, and I thank all of you all. And I ask you all to be strong and just to make right choices."

Police say two boys, ages 12 and 13, were playing with a 22-caliber rifle when Turnage was shot.  After the shooting, police say they hid her body behind a house and buried it under trash bags.

The boys have been charged as juveniles with involuntary manslaughter.

A city police officer has been suspended for his conduct after the shooting.  Contrary to earlier reports from other news outlets, sources with knowledge of the investigation tell ABC-2 News the rifle did not belong to that officer, but that it was found in his police vehicle after Turnage's body was discovered.

Councilman Carl Stokes came the closest to addressing that aspect of the story at Wednesday's vigil:  "what can we say to our children when those charged with protecting them, harm them?" he asked the crowd.

In an interview, Turnage's mother said she is willing to wait for the results of the police investigation into the officer's conduct.  "There's a lot of things that are being said that might not be true, or they might be true. But until I find out there's nothing I can really say about it.  I'm just leaning on the lord for my health and my strength," she said.

Police are still tracing the rifle to find out whether it's legal and to whom it belonged.  Funeral services for Monae Turnage will be held this weekend.

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