By Tinashe Chingarande,
Special to The AFRO
Trevor White spent some of his last hours of life celebrating Black culture at Baltimore’s AFRAM Festival in Druid Hill Park.
The Baltimore City restaurant owner was shot and killed just hours into the Juneteenth holiday.
The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is still seeking the gunman they say that walked up to White and took his life shortly after 4 a.m. on June 19 in the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside neighborhood of Northeast Baltimore.
White, 40, was the co-owner of RYMKS Bar & Grille, a popular soul food restaurant and sports bar in the Little Italy section of Baltimore.
“Trevor was many things to many people— a husband, father, brother, cousin, uncle, fraternity brother, and friend,” the White family said in a June 20 statement released on social media.
“He was an incredible source of strength; a firm, strong, and extremely loving person, who touched everyone he met. His passion was palpable and his energy will never be replaced,” the statement said.
Northeast District patrol officers responded to a report of gunfire on Lakeside Avenue at about 4:06 a.m., according to an advisory from the police regarding the incident. Upon arriving, the patrol officers located White who they said was unresponsive and suffering from apparent gunshot wounds.
When medics arrived at the scene, they pronounced White dead at the location.
Metro Crime Stoppers is offering an $8,000 reward for anyone with information about White’s death. Informants are encouraged to call the tip line at 1-866-756-2587.
White’s death is one of 11 shooting incidents that took place in the city this past weekend, according to the police press release— six were homicides and five were non-fatal shootings. Additionally, there were also 28 confirmed robberies.
“We encourage anyone with information to come forward. More often than people realize, it’s the citizens working with investigators who can turn an investigation around quickly,” said Commissioner Michael Harrison in the press release.
The police department added in the release that it worked to support and monitor the AFRAM Festival that occurred at Druid Hill Park this past weekend, and there were no reported major incidents related to that festival for the entire weekend.
However, it will be focusing all available resources to address violent crime trends and increase patrol presence in high-crime areas.
Between January and June of this year, there has been an overall decrease in the frequency of shootings in Baltimore. Baltimore Police reported 35 shootings in June, a 36 percent decrease from January, according to crime statistics reported on the police department’s website.
Despite this decrease, the occurrence of shootings has been on the rise every other month. Shootings increased by 28 percent in March and 61 percent in May, according to the data.
Early June, the police department announced a “Short Term Deployment Strategy” program in which it would increase police presence in the city to combat violent crime. According to the plan, officers’ starting salaries would also be increased as an incentive to hire more individuals into the police force.
Information sent to the AFRO by BPD shows that they proposed a 2023 fiscal budget to Baltimore City Council’s Ways and Means Committee 2023 that would accommodate 2,605 sworn positions, 618 full-time civilian positions and 62 contract services specialists positions for a total of 3,285 positions.
Budget requests were also geared at strengthening the police department’s retention rate by offering starting salaries of $60,000 per year for police officers and awarding $1,500, $3,000, or $4,500 increases for completing an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, according to the letter.
The police department also proposed an increase in funding for its digital marketing recruitment campaign through a $500,000 per year grant from the State of Maryland, which the police department will match with equal investment.
Baltimore Metro CrimeStoppers has offered an $8,000 reward for information on White’s death that leads to an arrest.
His killing has sent ripples of grief through the Baltimore commubity and beyond.
“I first met Trevor when he moved from New York to Baltimore and I was working for a Garwyn Oaks Nonprofit Housing Organization in Northwest Baltimore,” said Mark Clark, who took to Facebook after learning of White’s killing. “He walked into my office wanting information on available property listings in the area. We immediately developed a great friendship as we both had a passion for renovating and flipping houses.”
Though they didn’t discuss it at the time, both men secretly loved to cook.
“Years later when Trevor came to me because he wanted to open up an upscale soul food restaurant, he hired my company, The Creative Culinary Consultants, to help with his search of finding an available location for his restaurant,” said Clark. “Trevor had multiple businesses throughout Baltimore….his tax service was VBS Tax and Accounting on Liberty Road and he was also director of Rebuild Metro, a nonprofit group that focuses on affordable housing.”
Close friend Kevin Parson also addressed White’s death on social media. “I am disappointed to learn that my fraternity brother, who I witnessed cross the burning sands into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, was killed. “This was a good and gracious brother,” said Parson.
“Rest in heaven, little brother Trevor White.”
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