One hundred family members and friends of Daryl Augustus II gathered for a candlelight vigil Thursday evening at the West Towson Community Park, remembering the Calvert Hall College High School graduate's spirit and sense of humor — just hours after the man believed to be involved in his murder turned himself in.
"Daryl would be really happy right now, and though I'm crying, I'm very happy too," said Daryl's father, also Daryl Augustus, during the vigil. "This is the greatest thing that could come of this. "
The vigil was organized by Augustus' friends from then-Towson Catholic High School — where Augustus attended his freshman year before moving on to Calvert Hall. It was meant to be held at behind Immaculate Conception — on the same campus where Towson Catholic used to operate — but was moved to accommodate a graduation there.
Tim Wiggins, 21 of White Marsh, was one of the organizers, and was directing people across Bosley Avenue to the new site of the vigil Thursday evening.
He said he and his friends "were trying to make the best out of a horrible tragedy."
The vigil came just hours after police announced that Lennell Earl Ellis, 32, turned himself in at police headquarters. Ellis was wanted in connection with Augustus' murder.
According to police, a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup truck was found fully engulfed in flames on Mitchell Road in Essex at 6:50 a.m. on May 26.
A man's body was found in the truck. Three days later, police information and medical records were used to identify the body as that of Augustus, a Parkville resident who had been reported missing on May 26 after not returning home the previous night. The medical examiner listed his cause of death as a laceration to the femoral artery in his thigh.
According to a timeline assembled by detectives, police believe Augustus was visiting a woman in the unit block of Dunhaven Place in Nottingham on the morning of May 26. Police said they believe Ellis, who they say had been romantically involved with the woman, found him there.
Police said that detectives believe Augustus died in the apartment, and his body was transported to the Mitchell Road area.
Thursday's vigil, which was led by Augustus' uncle, Sean Augustus, began with the gathered crowd joining in a large circle and holding hands in prayer.
Sean Augustus said the family was overwhelmed by the crowd. He said he knew his nephew had touched each of them in some way.
"Heaven is rejoicing at the fact that they have such a king in their realm right now," he said.
Both Daryl Sr. and Sarah Augustus, his mother, spoke at the vigil. Sarah Augustus sang a song she used to sing with her son as a child, bringing much of the gathering to tears.
Before the event, Deborah Brown, a cousin of Sarah Augustus, recalled Augustus as a "good man."
"He wasn't confrontational," she said. "It's just so hard to believe. His mom always told him a good run is better than a good fight."