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Released Replacement Player Instrumental In Solving Crime

Terry Blocker, an outfielder released a few days ago by the Atlanta Braves, remembers sitting in the clubhouse and talking with Dave Shotkoski.

Last week, Shotkoski was shot dead. And Blocker decided to do what he could.

He played a key role in helping police in West Palm Beach, Fla., find the man who allegedly shot and killed his teammate.

“I felt I had to do something,” said Blocker, who was cut by the Braves on Tuesday. “The day before he was killed, Dave was sitting across from me in the clubhouse and he was showing pictures of his family.

‘I thought about that after he was killed, and I cried. So I went into the neighborhood around where the shooting happened. I knew it was a bad place, but I can’t be scared of my own people,” said Blocker, who is black.

Hours after Shotkoski was shot to death near the Braves’ spring training hotel in West Palm Beach last Friday, Blocker scoured the nearby neighborhood where suspect Neal Douglas Evans lived. He collected information that led police to Evans.

Blocker spoke in an interview in Thursday’s Atlanta JournalConstitution. The newspaper said police confirmed his role in Evans’ arrest.

Evans, 30, was charged with firstdegree murder and attempted robbery in the slaying of Shotkoski, a 30-year-old pitcher from Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Blocker, 34, who returned to his Stone Mountain home Wednesday, said he got information about Evans with the help of someone who lives in West Palm Beach.

“When I last played (for the Braves) in 1989, I had met a guy who was a little down on his luck and needed some money,” he said. “I gave him some. He found out this spring that I was back with the team and called me up. I called him right after Dave was shot, and we went into the neighborhood.”

Blocker said he spent parts of three days in the neighborhood and found out where Evans had been staying.