Aryeh Wolf went to work Wednesday and never came home.
The young father from Northwest Baltimore was working on solar panels at an apartment complex in Southeast Washington, D.C., when he was shot and killed that afternoon. DC Metropolitan Police have released a photo of a suspect but no motive has been determined, leaving neighbors worried about a gunman on the loose and sending shockwaves through Baltimore’s Jewish community.
At a service posted on the Sol Levinson and Bros. funeral home website Thursday, friends and family described Wolf, 25, as a quick learner, an unfailingly generous friend and a loving father struck down in the prime of his life.
On Friday morning, his loved ones were sitting shiva, a week-long mourning process. Relatives who gathered for the ritual at a Northwest Baltimore home declined to comment to a reporter, requesting privacy during their earliest days of grief.
Metropolitan Police responded to reports of a shooting at about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday in the 5100 block of Call Place in Marshall Heights and discovered Wolf suffering from a gunshot wound. Medics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead after lifesaving efforts, officials said.
Police on Thursday released a photo and video footage of a suspect in the shooting, captured from a surveillance camera.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Friday that detectives have no information at this point in the investigation to suggest anything was stolen from Wolf immediately before or after the shooting.
At the scene Friday afternoon, neighbors expressed shock at news of the killing and offered condolences for his loved ones, noting that the tragic nature of the incident was compounded by the fact that he was working in the area, helping to improve the nearby apartment complex.
One woman, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her safety, said she happened to step outside shortly before gunshots rang out. She said she saw a man — later identified as Wolf — sitting cross-legged on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the brick apartment building at 5112 Call Place. She said he was facing the building, working on a laptop next to a control box for the solar panels attached to the exterior brick wall. She also saw him there the previous day.
Soon after returning inside her house, the woman said, she heard gunshots. Moments later, another neighbor screamed and the woman went outside to help. She called 911 and then waited with the victim.
“He was trying to talk ... and I said, ‘Sir, please, try to lay still. Help is coming,’” she recalled Friday afternoon. “There was blood running from the back of his head.”
The woman said she’s praying the shooter is taken into custody soon. She said the victim was just doing his job, not bothering anyone.
“He woke up in the morning and went to work, probably told his family ‘see you later’ — never to return,” she said. “This is a real tragedy. It’s senseless.”
The woman said her two adult children were shot nearby last year, and she worries about the neighborhood’s safety. Other residents said the area is relatively quiet, changing for the better in recent years.
Delores Martin, 68, who grew up on Call Place, said the neighborhood has been quiet. She was shocked when gunshots rang out Wednesday and was sorry to hear later that the victim passed away. She said she had spoken to other neighbors and none recognized the suspect from the photo released by police.
“It’s a mystery,” she said. “But they need to get him off the streets before he ends up hurting someone else.”
Police said Wolf was installing solar panels when he was killed, but neighbors said the panels had been installed several months ago and thought he was doing maintenance work. The apartments consist of several brick buildings with solar panels on their roofs.
During Thursday’s memorial service, Wolf’s relatives spoke about his character and the life he built.
“Aryeh truly had no friends, he only had brothers. And there was nothing Aryeh wouldn’t do for his brother,” Rabbi Daniel Lerner said. “There are plenty of times when his friends were in a jam and Aryeh never said, ‘What do you need?’ He never asked why. He just simply asked, ‘Where are you?’ And then he was on his way.”
His younger brother Shmuel Wolf spoke through tears about how Aryeh was beloved by children and how his presence had helped him through the isolating first months of the pandemic.
Asher Wolf, Aryeh’s father, addressed his son’s spirit directly.
“Mommy and I are heartbroken, your grandparents are heartbroken, your uncles and aunts are heartbroken, your nephews, your nieces, in fact all the people who were privileged to know you are heartbroken,” he said.
A brother-in-law read a letter from Aryeh’s wife of two years, Mindy Wolf. Aryeh left behind an infant daughter, Zahava, born last winter.
“There is just no way this is real,” she wrote in the letter. “You took care of me and Zahava like no one else could have and showed me every day how fully committed you were. There’s a gaping hole in my heart that only your love was able to fill. Two-and-a-half years with you will never be enough.”
Wolf volunteered as a counselor at Camp Simcha, a overnight camp for children with cancer and blood disorders in New York’s Catskill Mountains.
Camp Simcha published a Facebook post Thursday about Wolf’s death, praising his “chesed,” a Hebrew word sometimes translated as loving kindness, and his dedication to others.
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“We are shocked and devastated by this news and extend our sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones,” the post said.
When summer camp wasn’t in session, Wolf also volunteered with families dealing with pediatric illness at Chai Lifeline Mid-Atlantic, said regional director Racheli Daniel, who noted his selflessness and dedication.
“He was a light to our families,” Daniel said. “The world should know how good he was.”
Daniel encouraged anyone in need of support following Wolf’s death to contact the Chai Lifeline team at 855-3-CRISIS.
Wolf is survived by his wife, daughter, parents and four siblings, according to an obituary on the Sol Levinson & Bros. funeral home website.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call D.C. police at 202-727-9099 or to submit anonymous information via the department’s tip line by texting 50411.
Baltimore Sun reporter Christine Condon contributed to this article.