By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Those who knew Sophia Wilks are in shock at the brutal crime that took her life: The mother of three was shot and killed inside her home on Linnard Street in Southwest Baltimore around 11:30 pm Tuesday.

“Her kids were her life. That’s what she did. That’s what makes it so painful and hurt so bad,” a friend told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. He asked that his name not be used. “It’s worse than horrible. They should turn them over to the public whoever it is. I tell you what. Can you imagine what they’re going to have to go through for the rest of their life? They were safe in there. They were protected in there.”

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The governor is adding another $8,000 to the Metro Crime Stoppers reward for a total of $16,000 for tips that lead to an arrest. You can remain anonymous with your tips at 1-866-7-Lockup.

Police have provided few details about the crime. WJZ has learned one of Wilks’ children called 9–1-1 after the shooting.

“It’s disgusting. You have someone let alone killing a woman, but in front of her children. And think about what those children are going to now be dealing with that trauma for the rest of their lives,” Mayor Brandon Scott said in response to a WJZ question Thursday morning. “We’re going to make sure that BPD is doing what they always do and going out and tracking down whoever committed this heinous act.”

Mayor Scott called on the community to act. “I think this is a time when we have to step up in a different way. We have to look in the mirror. Somebody knows who was in that woman’s house with her and we need that person to step up and say what happened so that we can bring some peace to her family, those children, that community because we cannot have people murdering women in their home with children inside the house. That is something we can’t accept, and we have to get to a point where we’re being better as a community. Specifically, I’m looking at men who may know who did this to this young lady.”

Tributes to Wilks have poured in online, with loved ones praising her bright personality and dedication to her kids.

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“She would tease with you all the time. She was a great person,” the friend said.

Neighbor Floyd McGeachy told Hellgren “It shocked me very much. I’ll never see her again.”

The front door to her home is now boarded up. A light remains on inside, a toy ball on the front lawn.

Southwest Baltimore home of victim Sophia Wilks; photo by Mike Hellgren

Frightened neighbors are anxiously hoping police will get the killer off the streets.

“They need to come forward and really be held accountable for this because this is sad, the friend said. “It’s going to hurt our little community around here. Sophia, she was a great mother. I tell you she was a wonderful mother. I can’t believe something like that would happen to her.

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The area is not immune to violence. There with a triple shooting two blocks away in February, and at least 4 teenagers have been shot within a one-mile radius over the past year.