CHICAGO LAWN — With police still on the hunt for the alleged carjacker suspected in his death, 11-year-old Donovan Turnage's friends and family gathered at his school Monday to remember a boy who "made everyone smile."
They also called for the man suspected in causing the crash that killed Donovan while he was on his way to get a Christmas haircut with his father and big brother Saturday afternoon to turn himself in.
On Monday, before the Morrill Math & Science School auditorium started to fill up for a vigil to remember Turnage, Dezmon Tillman sat alone in the front row — and burst into tears. When his turn came to speak, Dezmon stepped to the front of the crowded hall and gathered the courage to talk about his best friend.
"He was like my brother," the fifth-grader said. "We did everything together. We have the same initials, D.T."
Others who knew Donovan affectionately described him a "hot-tempered" young man who loved to tell jokes and eat Flamin' Hot Cheetos. They called his death a "completely senseless tragedy."
Teacher Kristal Coleman, who taught Donovan in both fourth and fifth grades, recounted how he had grown from an often "angry" boy to a young man.
"When we come back [after the holidays], class won't be the same," she said.
Donovan's classmates, their parents and school officials alternatively laughed and cried during the ceremony. They then enjoyed "comfort food" donated by the Illinois BBQ Alliance.
Donovan's family members called on the man wanted in the fatal crash to turn himself in.
Police identified Rockie Douglas, 34, as the driver of a stolen van that crashed into Donovan's father's car.
"If he's got any guts, any heart, he would turn himself in," said Reginald Howard, a security guard at Morrill school and a close friend of Donovan's father.
Police said Douglas' spree began Friday morning, when he allegedly carjacked a van in the 800 block of West Irving Park Road in Buena Park.
Then, around noon on Saturday, officers saw the van on the South Side and attempted to pull it over. But Douglas sped away, ultimately crashing into the Chevrolet Suburban in which Turnage was a passenger in the intersection of 55th and Halsted streets.
Douglas is suspected in a total of three carjackings last weekend, as well as a number of robberies and other crimes in Chicago and Wisconsin, police said.