BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A young firefighter was found murdered in Upper Fells Point and homicide detectives are searching for a gunman.

John Hickey’s family told WJZ they think he knew his killer. Police aren’t saying much about the murder but Hickey’s family say they won’t have closure until the killer is behind bars.

The horrifying crime devastated Hickey’s mother and uncle.

“I’m surviving,” Hickey’s mom said. “It’s hard. He’s my only baby.”

“It’s a big loss,” Hickey’s uncle said.

Baltimore City police say a welfare check Thursday led them to the 1800 block of East Pratt Street where they found Hickey shot in the head inside his locked apartment. Nothing inside had been taken, but police say his case is one of more than 320 Baltimore homicides this year alone.

“It does not make sense at all,” the uncle said.

Hickey had only recently moved to the city to fulfill a lifelong dream. He was set to be part of the next class to enter the Baltimore City Fire Department Academy.

“He’s waited his whole life for this, and he finally gets in, and then to have this happen to him,” his mother said.

He’d spent years as a volunteer for four county fire departments and was an accomplished photographer.

“He always spent time down there, because he used to tell me, ‘mom, it’s not as bad as you think it is.’ And then, to have this happen,” his mother said.

There will be a service held for Hickey on Thursday at 1 p.m. Haights Funeral home in Sykesville.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call detectives or metro crime stoppers.

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