On the morning of October 24, Nicole Hammond, a 28-year-old woman from St. Cloud, Minnesota, was allegedly fatally shot by her co-worker, Michael Carpenter, in the parking lot of their unnamed workplace. According to the Kansas City Star, investigators swiftly discovered that Carpenter had been harassing Hammond for weeks.
Per text records examined by law enforcement officers, Hammond texted the 36-year-old Carpenter the night before he allegedly killed her, and told him she didn’t want to be “touched” or “manipulated” by him. Hammond also asked that he not “make things uncomfortable at work.” A probable cause statement confirmed that over the course of the last month, Carpenter had been harassing Hammond despite the fact that she repeatedly rejected his advances. Co-workers told investigators they were aware that Carpenter made several unwanted advances toward Hammond, and that he had a “bad temper” and was “upset” about the conversation that took place the night she was shot. According to her boss, Rob Dubow, the business “had no idea” about the harassment as it went unreported to management.
“Any time there is anything that requires our intervention we step in,” Dubow told FOX 9. “But in this case, we had no indication that there was anything awry.”
Shortly after Carpenter was arrested, investigators found a loaded 9mm handgun that matched the shell casings found next to Hammond’s body. Post-arrest, Carpenter admitted only to arguing with her the night before the shooting, and being at the scene at the time she was shot. He told investigators that he fled without alerting authorities as he was “too traumatized” upon seeing her body.
According to police, one witness on the scene said they heard a gunshot, and, shortly thereafter, saw Carpenter—clothed in a black jacket and black pants—jog to his car and drive away. A second witness confirmed they saw Carpenter in the same outfit. When he was arrested by police, three hours after Hammond was shot, he was wearing the same jacket and pants described by witnesses. Carpenter is currently being held at Benton County Jail and faces one second-degree murder charge. If convicted, he could spend up to 40 years in prison.
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“Nicole always had a smile on her face, and anybody who had any association with her couldn’t help but like her,” Dubow told FOX 9.
“Words cannot describe the pain and hurt i have been feeling this last 2 days,” wrote another coworker on Facebook. “Nicole Hammond you were such a beautiful, smart, determined young woman. You deserved to live your best life but instead got your life taken from you.”