BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A popular church leader is found dead in a hotel miles away from his home. Pastor Zachary Tims has deep ties to Baltimore.

As Gigi Barnett reports, his unexplained and sudden death has people reacting, creating special messages on the Internet.

Members of an Orlando church are saddened and stunned after police found their pastor — Dr. Zachary Tims — dead in a New York hotel last week.

Tims has deep connections to Baltimore. He was raised here. As more information comes out about his death, many in Baltimore and around the county are flooding the Internet with heartfelt tributes.

“It burned up the Internet, Twitter and Facebook for the last two or three days,” said Rev. Frank Reid. “It was because of the effectiveness of his ministry.”

Reid heads the Bethel AME Church in Baltimore. He only met Tims once before. But it was a time that the younger pastor described a chaotic childhood in Baltimore.

“He shared with me how he grew up in Baltimore. How his life here early on was very rough in the street, the drug life and other things. He came to Bethel as he was visiting churches,” Reid recalled.

Tims found that calling and started the New Destiny Christian Center in central Florida.

Tims’ death is still under investigation by New York Police. On Friday, officers found his body at the W Hotel in Times Square. Investigators say inside his pants pocket was a white powdery substance they believe are drugs.

“It really doesn’t matter what the circumstances were behind the death,” Reid said. “That’s a distraction. The fact is nobody 42 years of age with children, with family, with ministry should die that early. It’s also a reminder not to be so judgmental. We all have issues, and life is too short.”

Tims’ funeral is set for this weekend in central Florida, but he will be buried here in Baltimore. He is survived by his ex-wife and four children.


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