‘He will do anything he can to cause harm’

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By Dillon Mullan, Cassidy Jensen and Lee O. Sanderlin | Baltimore Sun

Authorities are looking for an armed and dangerous man who police say killed Pava LaPere, an entrepreneur involved in Baltimore’s tech startup scene.

Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said Tuesday that police have an arrest warrant for 32-year-old Jason Billingsley in connection with LaPere’s death. Worley described Billingsley as armed and dangerous, and warned Baltimoreans to steer clear if they see him. Worley said Billingsley is a suspect in “at least one other case.”

“He will do anything he can to cause harm,” Worley said. “This individual will kill, and he will rape.”

Officers found LaPere, 26, in an apartment in the 300 block of West Franklin Street in the Mount Vernon neighborhood around 11:34 a.m. with signs of blunt-force trauma, police said, and the state medical examiner’s office said Tuesday afternoon that her death has been ruled a homicide.

LaPere co-founded EcoMap Technologies while still an undergraduate student at the Johns Hopkins University, from which she graduated in 2019. The company’s office is also in the 300 block of West Franklin Street.

“Pava was a very young, talented, devoted Baltimorean and someone I had the opportunity to get to know over the past few years, who would help anyone she could see,” Mayor Brandon Scott said.

Billingsley pleaded guilty to a first-degree sex offense in 2015 and received a prison sentence of 30 years with all but 14 years suspended, according to online court records.

Worley said LaPere was found hours after a missing person report was filed. He declined to say whether LaPere was found in her own home, citing the open investigation. “It was a secure building, where someone had to allow the individual into the building,” Worley said.

Hopkins spokesperson Jill Rosen said: “The Johns Hopkins community deeply mourns the tragic loss of Pava LaPere, a 2019 graduate who made Baltimore home and invested her talent in our city. Pava was well known and loved in the Baltimore entrepreneurship community and will be profoundly missed. Our solemn thoughts are with her family in this time of grief.”

EcoMap Technologies has published data maps of over 12 business ecosystems, including an overview of Baltimore’s Black-owned business community. In August, the company announced that it had raised $8 million from venture capital firms, according to a news release.

“Her untiring commitment to our company, to Baltimore, to amplifying the critical work of ecosystems across the country, and to building a deeply inclusive culture as a leader, friend, and partner set a standard for leadership, and her legacy will live on through the work we continue to do,” EcoMap Technologies said in a statement. The public is invited to a vigil at the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the company tweeted.

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