A 53-year-old Baltimore man who says he's dissatisfied with the mayor’s crime plan has vowed to stand guard outside the Southern Baptist Church where Evelyn Player, a 69-year-old church worker, was murdered last Tuesday, to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“I can’t, I won’t, I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to anybody else in this church,” Kimkur Lee, who called Player his “church mother,” told Fox 45 in Baltimore.
“I’m going to do this every day. That’s helping me. That’s therapy for me ‘cause it hurt when this happened to Ms. Player. It hurt,” he said, noting that the murdered church worker is “definitely a candidate for sainthood.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison said at a press conference on Nov. 16 that Player, who was both a member and employee at Southern Baptist Church where her family worshiped for four generations, entered the church at around 6 a.m. She unlocked the doors, as usual, to allow contractors renovating the church to enter. At around 6:50 a.m., she was discovered dead in the church’s bathroom in her work area.
Southern Baptist Church’s pastor, Bishop Donte Hickman, told 11 News that days before her killing, Player had been intensely praying at the church and said she was perhaps at the church early last Tuesday for similar devotion.
"Typically, Evelyn would not come as early. We have other male sextons that come to the church, she just beat everybody here,” he said. “She had been praying all week, praying and crying, and she may have come to the church early to have some time to pray by herself."
He further told the AFRO that Player’s murder has shocked the church and the wider community.
“We were very distraught, shocked and we especially didn’t believe it would happen in the house of God. But we just thank and praise God that even through this, God’s will and greater purpose will be accomplished,” he said.
Last Tuesday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called Player’s death inside the independent multi-campus church an “unspeakable, cowardly murder.” He described her as a “dedicated member and staff member” of Southern Baptist Church, called her killer “cowardice scum,” and vowed to make solving her murder “priority No. 1 for the Baltimore Police Department.”
A day later, the murder of a 5-year-old girl in Baltimore marked the city’s 300th murder, according to FOX 45. That crime was followed by another murder of a child on Thursday, with the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old girl outside a recreation center.
Lee is now standing guard at the church because he doesn’t think Scott’s crime plan is working.
Last Wednesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan offered a $100,000 reward to help solve Player’s murder and said he directed Maryland State Police and “all state law enforcement agencies to immediately assist” the Baltimore Police Department with its investigation of Player’s murder as well as providing “enhanced visibility patrols in an all-hands-on-deck effort.”
At a prayer vigil held just outside the church on Thursday, hundreds of community members turned out to show their support.
“To see the outpour of support from the community means so much, it means so much to us. I’m just so full of emotions. This helps to know that there are people who loved on her and she didn’t die in vain,” Player’s daughter, Alethea Finch, said according to CBS Baltimore.
Baltimore Police are currently investigating a person of interest in the case, but no arrests have yet been made in connection with Player’s death.