BALTIMORE -- Baltimore tech CEO Pava LaPere is being remembered for her impact not only in her industry but also for what she's done for Charm City.
Everyone who knew her said the same thing: LaPere loved helping people. Those mourning her death say the city lost a big champion for the community.
After city leaders identified, 32, as Monday, Mayor Brandon Scott took a moment to praise her.
"Pava was a very young, talented, devoted Baltimorean—someone I had the opportunity to know over the past few years who would help anybody that she would see," Scott said.
LaPere's resume includes numerous nonprofits where she helped entrepreneurs get their start.
But her company, Ecomap Technologies, is where her helping nature really took off. The company created resource maps for communities.
McKeever Conwell—who's known LaPere since she was a Johns Hopkins University student and is a part of Baltimore's tech community as well—said it showed LaPere's character to have a company based on helping people.
"That's who she was," he said.
Conwell, who is the managing partner at tech company RareBreed Ventures, added that LaPere made it a priority to ensure everyone had a seat at the table.
LaPere's work caught national attention, landing her on Forbes' 30 Under 30 list in the social impact category, as well as the Baltimore 40 Under 40 list.
Conwell said with her gone, the city has lost a heartbeat.
"She was going to make EcoMap as successful as she possibly could, and then she was going to help a lot of people along the way," he said. "When that was done, I don't know what her next thing would've been, but it would've been on an even bigger scale. It would've been helping more people."
EcoMap released a statement describing LaPere as a "deeply compassionate and dedicated leader." The company also said that "her legacy will live on through the work we continue to do."
Wendy Bolger, the founding director of the Simon Center on Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Loyola University Maryland, said LaPere served on the newly established advisory board for the center.
"She always led with values first, and was deeply committed to Baltimore, and the promises of technology and entrepreneurship for all," Bolger said in a statement.
UpSurge Baltimore, a local tech company, described LaPere as a visionary and that the community lost a shining star.
Community remembers LaPere's impact
EcoMap released a statement mourning LaPere's loss.
"The circumstances surrounding Pava's death are deeply distressing, and our deepest condolences are with her family, friends, and loved ones during this incredibly devastating time. Pava was not only the visionary force behind EcoMap but was also a deeply compassionate and dedicated leader. 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."
WJZ received this statement from Johns Hopkins University:
"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."
-Johns Hopkins University
UpSurge Baltimore, another Baltimore tech company, also released a statement.
"The entire team at UpSurge Baltimore expresses its profound shock and sorrow over the tragic and untimely death of Pava LaPere, Founder and CEO of EcoMap. Pava was a friend and inspiration to so many of us. Our deepest, most heartfelt condolences go out to Pava's family, friends, and the entire EcoMap team. We stand in solidarity with them, mourning the loss of a true visionary. The Baltimore tech community has lost a shining star, and it is difficult to put into words the depth of the community's sorrow at Pava's death."
Loyola University Maryland also released a statement Tuesday. LaPere served on an advisory board there.
"The Loyola University Maryland community is deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Ecomap CEO, Pava LaPere. Ms. LaPere served on the newly established advisory board for the Simon Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. She was a phenomenally accomplished CEO and innovator, and an inspiration and a friend to so many. She always led with values first, and was deeply committed to Baltimore, and the promises of technology and entrepreneurship for all. Loyola University Maryland joins the communities Ms. LaPere built at Ecomap and across the city in grieving the loss of a true star. She and her family are in our prayers."
-Wendy Bolger, founding director of the Simon Center on Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Loyola University Maryland
McKeever Conwell, managing partner at RareBreed Ventures and an active member of the local tech community, knew LaPere since she was still a student.
He said from the beginning, she had drive.
"She epitomized what it was to be a dreamer. What it was to be an entrepreoneur. She's the type of woman I would want to be a mentor to my daughter," Conwell said.
Conwell said that summed up LaPere very well: she wanted to help people.
Aside from her work at EcoMap, she also worked extensively to help other entrepreneurs get started -- all while ensuring everyone had a seat at the table.
"You have this young white woman as CEO and a young Black man as COO, you don't see that every day," Conwell said. "Her team is extremely diverse."
But overall, Conwell said, LaPere's death is a big loss for all of Baltimore. He said she was one of its biggest cheerleaders.
"All these tech companies, when they start getting money...they wanna move to other places. She was here, she believed in it and we lost that," he said.
EcoMap will hold a vigil in remembrance of LaPere at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The ceremony will be held at the south steps of the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon.
The investigation into LaPere's murder
Officers responded around 11:30 a.m. to an apartment building on the 300 block of West Franklin Street for a call for service, where LaPere's body was found with signs of blunt-force trauma, police said.
Investigators said a missing persons call had been made a short time before the discovery.
"That's pretty horrifying," Chris McNees, a tenant, told WJZ on Monday. "I mean, just for that to happen anywhere in the city is obviously a bad thing, but it's hard to imagine why this would happen specifically in this building."
in LaPere's killing. Police said Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, from Baltimore, is the suspect in the case and that he should be considered armed and dangerous.
If you have information that could help detectives in this case, contact the department at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.