Baltimore police say they are searching for an “armed and dangerous” man in connection with the death of Tyra Womack, an announcer on WEAA-FM’s weekly “Gospel Grace” radio program for more than 30 years.
Baltimore Police on Friday announced homicide detectives have obtained an arrest warrant for 56-year-old Richard Sylvester Green and are asking anyone with information about his whereabouts to call police.
Womack, the longtime radio voice known for her “gentle spirit," was fatally shot Wednesday night outside her Lauraville home.
Officers were called just before 9 p.m. Wednesday to the 2400 block of Albion Ave., where they found Womack, 57, suffering from gunshot wounds. Medical personnel pronounced her dead.
Baltimore Police spokeswoman Detective Nicole Monroe said Thursday that Womack’s death was “a senseless, tragic murder, as many are," and that it appears to have stemmed from a neighborhood dispute.
Womack, who also went by Tyra Phillips professionally, worked at WEAA as a program announcer on the “Gospel Grace” program since 1989, providing updates from the church community, according to her LinkedIn account and the show’s website. She also worked as an administrative assistant for the U.S. Postal Service, according to her LinkedIn account.
“WEAA offers condolences and prayers to the family of our beloved Tyra Phillips (Womack). We are heartbroken about her passing and remember her beautiful, gentle, sweet spirit today. Tyra was heard on Sunday’s Gospel Grace programs for many years at WEAA,” the station wrote in a tweet Thursday.
The radio station is affiliated with NPR and a service of Morgan’s School of Global Journalism and Communication. It broadcasts from the school’s Communication Center.
The school’s dean, DeWayne Wickham, said Womack was respected and valued at the station.
“We are truly saddened, as a community and more importantly as a family, by the inexplicable and senseless death of one of our dearest WEAA voices,” he said. “The plague of gun violence has claimed another victim life leaving us all to grieve. We will truly miss her and the WEAA family extends our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the Womack family.”
Carolyn Showell, the executive director of Womack’s church, First Apostolic Faith Church in East Baltimore, said she had just ended Wednesday night Bible study when she received a call from Womack’s niece.
“She was hysterical. All she said is, ‘Somebody shot Tyra,’ " Showell said.
Womack’s family had been members of First Apostolic for several generations, and she had been attending services at the church her entire life, Showell said. Womack also was a member of the church choir and participated in weekly Sunday school sessions online.
Showell said she had not seen Womack recently because the coronavirus and related restrictions canceled in-person services. But at the church’s weekly streaming service Sunday, she said, Womack would sing online and a message would pop up: “Tyra Womack is watching."
After the shooting Wednesday night, family and other church members rushed to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, they had to wait outside for news on Womack’s condition, Showell said.
When a doctor came outside and spoke to Womack’s mother, Showell said, the crowd of more than 25 church members knew Womack had died.
“Everybody knew,” she said.
At 6 a.m. Thursday, more than 200 church members got on a prayer call for Womack and her family, she said.
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Showell described Womack as a “gentle spirit” always willing to serve others, and was known for her deep-dimple smile.
“It’s one of those kinds of tragedies that just makes you numb. That’s the word I keep hearing, numb," Showell said. “You’re traumatized because she’s one of those unlikely people."
No one answered the door at Womack’s home Thursday. Neighbors said her family hadn’t returned since the shooting.
The neighbors, who declined to give their names, said the incident came as a shock.
“Things like this don’t happen here,” one woman said.
Anyone with information about Greens’ whereabouts is asked to call warrant apprehension detectives at 410- 637-8970 or 911.
Baltimore Sun reporter McKenna Oxenden contributed to this article.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated where Tyra Womack was shot. She was shot outside her home. The Sun regrets the error.