A memorial to Charlene Holmes, 16, grew on Willow Street after a drive-by shooting took her life Sunday night. (Photo: _jaaaaaay)

By 7:05 p.m., the scheduled vigil was already packed with people. (Photo: Jesse Kanson-Benanav)

The death Sunday of Charlene Holmes, 16, and the fight for life of Thanialee Cotto, 17, after a drive-by shooting overshadowed much of Cambridge life Monday, including a somber day at their high school and a compact City Council meeting in the evening. Already looking at a relatively light agenda, councillors sped through debate and even tabled an issue so they could be at a 7 p.m. vigil starting at 34 Willow St., where the girls were shot less than 24 hours earlier. Neither lived at that address.

Hundreds turned out to pray, speak, sing and release balloons honoring the memory of Charlene, a Cambridge Rindge & Latin sophomore said to be merely passing by when five bullets were fired — possibly toward the man whose hair was being braided by Thanialee, a senior set to graduate Thursday. While officials say she remained in critical condition Monday, friends of the Cotto family have been saying via social media that she is expected to recover.

A funeral date for Charlene hasn’t been announced. An end-of-semester screening for works by her School Year Production Program at Cambridge Community Television has been postponed to 6 p.m. June 14 from today.

To be sure, councillors dealt with issues unrelated to the 8 p.m. Sunday shootings — at the time, less than 24 hours earlier — including going on record to support a peaceful resolution to the conflict tearing apart the African nation Mali; discussing how to get the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to commit to using some long-vacant lots; and deciding the next step for a proposal to ease the impact on a checking account when a driver has the bad luck to have their car ticketed, towed and impounded. But the issues were handled briskly, with frequent references to hurrying so councillors weren’t late to the vigil.

A late policy order was tabled until next Monday’s meeting specifically because the clock was ticking down.

“I probably have more commentary then we have time allotted to us tonight, so I’m going to charter-right it,” councillor Leland Cheung said.

But Tim Toomey, who introduced the late policy order Cheung was acting on, objected when Mayor Henrietta Davis began taking the vote to do so.

“You haven’t even read it in yet,” Toomey objected. “How do you charter-right it when you haven’t even said what it is?”

“It’s the only one,” Cheung noted, but Toomey was correct in regard to process and Davis apologized and read the order: to get a report from the city manager on the sale or reuse of the Foundry Building at 117 Rogers St.

Agenda items, response overlap

With that concluded, the council packed up and left for the vigil, having already noted the cause’s overlap with two items on the evening’s agenda. One involved having the city manager and police commissioner talk about adding patrols to the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood to see if they could end an increase in graffiti. But with the the same area hosting the fatal shooting Sunday, Toomey added a request for a report on the incident. “People are very apprehensive, and it’s an awful feeling,” he said. “Hopefully the perpetrators will be caught … quickly. But it points to a larger problem that still has to be addressed, and we’ll continue to work on that.” He hoped there would be an informational meeting about the incident early next week, he said.

The other item involved the city manager asking that councillors move $3,000 of Boston Foundation grant money to support a third year of late-night basketball for Area IV kids, a program also supported by The Boys & Girls Club, Pentecostal Tabernacle and The Margaret Fuller House and one started in part “to address concerns of noise in the park after dusk.” It took on another light Monday, as councillor Ken Reeves noted its role in keeping kids safe and how “we are trying to support all of our young people and this too speaks to today’s tragedy — that despite having tried to have a number of programs that help people in all good ways, still random acts of tragedy that bring us to our knees.” He wondered how the could prevent such a “senseless tragedy” and thanked the donators, singling out Pentecostal Tabernacle for contributing $4,500 to the program, calling it “a marvelous show of support from a local church to want to be part of a local solution.”

Roscoe Thomas, representing the Area IV Neighborhood Coalition, said the program — now called the Sion Chambers Late-Night Team Program — would start June 15, earlier than in past years, and run from 8 p.m. to midnight “in the hopes that we get more kids off the streets sooner as we approach summer.”

“It’s imperative we get them off the streets most especially in light of the tragic shooting which occurred last night,” he said. “A healthy community is a garden that people grow in.”

At the vigil, family of Charlene urged people with information about the shootings to come forward and help with police with the investigation. A press release from investigators says that anyone with information is asked to contact Cambridge Police at (617) 349-3300 or State Police at (781) 897-6600. Information on how to submit anonymous tips via e-mail, text message or via a 24-hour anonymous hotline can be found here.