BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A woman was found fatally stabbed inside the prominent Southern Baptist Church in East Baltimore and friends are left shaken as police hunt for the killer.

“I was really shocked, I was really shocked,” said one friend.

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Friends say 69-year-old Evelyn Player was found dead inside Tuesday morning.

“She was a beautiful person,” said one friend.

Baltimore City Police say around 6 a.m., she opened the church doors for contractors who were there to do renovations. Then less than an hour later she was found by another employee. Police say she was stabbed to death in the bathroom.

“This is devastating to know something like this could happen to just a lovely person, it’s just devastating,” said one friend who asked to remain anonymous.

Friends tell WJZ Player was a dedicated member of the church and longtime employee. She volunteered her time every day and was loved by the community.

“She’s always in the building and when she comes in the building, she always greets me with a hug and a smile and says where you been and we just laugh and talk,” said one friend who asked to remain anonymous.

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Neighbors watched in horror as investigators combed through evidence.

“A murder in a church? Why? That is supposed to be a safe space. Why?” said neighbor Delise Lynch.

Mayor Brandon Scott called for the suspect to come forward.

“This is not OK. None of us should be OK Her family is four generations strong at Southern and all of our hearts should be with them,” he said. “Solving this unfathomed, unthinkable, cowardly act is now priority No. 1 for the Baltimore Police Department.”

With more questions than answers, neighbors are left scared for the community.

“That’s sad it happened,” said neighbor George Polk Jr.

“My heart dropped and it scared me, I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it happened in this neighborhood,” said neighbor Betty Oxner.

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Police say they don’t have a suspect as of Tuesday night. They said they’re speaking with community members and checking out surveillance video and asking anyone with information to come forward.

Kelsey Kushner