Nicholas Lee was a provider.
The 24-year-old Northwest Baltimore resident wanted to make sure his girlfriend was able to stay home with their 10-month-old son, his cousin Patricia Watson said Saturday. Lee worked long hours at an electrical and mechanical job to make that wish a reality and to keep his family, which also included his twin sister, more comfortable, Watson said.
Now, Lee’s family is searching for a way to pick up where he left off. Lee was killed Tuesday by an armed security guard at a Giant Food store in the 6600 block of Reisterstown Road, according to Baltimore Police. A woman with him, identified by family as Lee’s girlfriend, was shot in the hand.
Police have provided few details of the incident, citing the ongoing investigation. The department has not named the security guard and has declined to name the company where the guard was employed. It remains unclear whether the security guard will face criminal charges.
Watson said family members have been told the guard did not work for Giant but instead for a nearby bank. Lee was involved in some sort of “verbal altercation” with the guard related to the fact that Lee wasn’t wearing a shirt, Watson said, and the guard followed him into the grocery store.
Lee was shot in the head and back, she said. His infant son was with him at the time, she said.
“There’s no justification for that,” Watson said.
The abrupt end to Lee’s life makes little sense to his family who remember him as a “peaceful person,” a devoted dad and an active member of his community. Watson said it was “refreshing” to see how eager Lee was to be a father to his son, Josiah.
“He was an amazing father and that little baby lit up his life,” she said.
Lee’s love for youth extended to the Nation of Islam temple where he was an active member. Like his late father who owned an art gallery on North Avenue, Lee was gifted musically and artistically, Watson said. He played the guitar and sang and taught music to children who belonged to the temple, she said.
“He made sure everyone around him had a better quality of life,” Watson said. “He’s a community person. His thing was I want to be not just good but good like God.”
Lee liked to wear a T-shirt emblazoned with a similar message, Watson said. She and other family members are launching a fundraiser selling the shirts and others that read “Long Live Nick” to help pay for funeral costs and to create a trust for his son.
Watson recalled the last time she spoke to Lee earlier this week. The pair were planning to get their extended family together for a picnic Saturday, one of their favorite weekend rituals. Instead, his family gathered Saturday to plan his memorial service. Watson shook her head in disbelief.
“Nobody would have thought a trip like that would end like this,” she said.