About 200 attend vigil for Korryn Gaines at Baltimore City College

Vigil planned for Korryn Gaines at Baltimore City College Friday.

About 200 people gathered Friday night for a candlelight vigil Korryn Gaines, the Randallstown woman shot and killed by Baltimore County police during an hours-long standoff earlier this week.

The sunset vigil was held at the entrance of the ornate Baltimore City College, the school where Gaines, 23, graduated from in 2010.

Friends, relatives and mourners held candles and signs and gathered near silver balloons that spelled Korryn. Elderly relatives sat in chairs with tears streaming down their cheeks as cousins denounced the Baltimore County Police Department.

Gaines' cousin, Creo Brady, spoke during the vigil, saying that Baltimore County police unjustly took her life.

"She wasn't careless, she was fearless," Brady said to the crowd.

Brady also said police deliberately kept Gaines' family members from trying to talk to her during the standoff.

"We asked several times to talk to her," Brady said. "My aunt said, 'please let me save my baby's life.'"

Gaines' mother, Rhanda Dormeus, said she is a registered nurse who has worked with mentally unstable individuals.

"I know that a person who is afraid or uptight respond best to people they're familiar with and trust," Dormeus said. "We all begged and pleaded to let us negotiate with her. They said it wasn't protocol."

She said police officers on the scene took her cell phone and texted Gaines without her knowledge. She showed a reporter text messages sent without her knowledge asking Gaines to surrender peacefully.

Gaines' family has questioned whether the department could have taken different actions to prevent her death. Police Chief Jim Johnson has said the agency followed procedures, and worked for hours to end the standoff peacefully. He said the officer only fired when Gaines held her gun in a ready position and threatened to kill the officers. Gaines returned fire. No officers were injured.

Her 5-year-old son was also wounded in his arm and cheek by police gunfire. Family members at the vigil were furious at how the police have treated the boy and family members who came to the hospital to visit him.

One of Gaines' cousins, Michael Mason, spoke at the vigil about how police did not allow relatives see the child for several hours.

The department is withholding the name of the officer who shot Gaines, citing "an unprecedented number of threats" against specific members of the department. The department typically releases last names of officers involved in shootings after 48 hours.

Gaines captured part of the confrontation on cellphone videos she took and posted online. Police requested Facebook deactivate her social media accounts during the standoff after they said other users were encouraging Gaines to ignore police negotiators. Some have criticized the social media site for complying with the department because Gaines' video offered a record of the confrontation.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has kept two of Gaines' videos offline. A company spokeswoman said they violated the site's terms of service.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/janders5

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