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A Minnesota woman was allegedly gunned down by a co-worker outside the business she worked at after “repeatedly” turning down his romantic advances, according to reports.
Michael Jordan Carpenter, 36, has been charged with felony second-degree murder in the shooting death of his 28-year-old colleague Nicole Hammond, who was allegedly shot and killed outside her workplace in St. Cloud, Minnesota — located roughly 65 miles northwest of Minneapolis — last week.
On Oct. 24, St. Cloud police were dispatched to a business parking lot in the 400 block of Lincoln Avenue Northeast shortly before 7 a.m. after reports of a shooting. Hammond, who was found with a gunshot wound to the neck, was pronounced dead at the scene. A lone shell casing was discovered near her body, according to a probable cause statement, obtained by the Kansas City Star.
The suspected shooter, later identified by witnesses as Carpenter, allegedly fled the scene prior to law enforcement's arrival. Witnesses said Hammond was shot and killed as she exited her vehicle outside her workplace.
Carpenter was later arrested without incident at a home in Sauk Rapids less than three hours after the deadly shooting.
Under questioning, Carpenter, who police said provided conflicting statements, allegedly confessed he’d gotten into an argument with Hammond the evening prior to her murder. He claimed he was “upset” about the text message dispute they’d had a night earlier.
Carpenter also admitted he’d been present at the location where the shooting took place but stated he left the business immediately after and failed to notify authorities. Carpenter insisted he’d initially taken steps in the direction of Hammond’s car after hearing a gunshot, but told detectives he ultimately fled the scene because he’d been “too traumatized” after catching a glimpse of Hammond’s body.
“He didn’t render aid, go to work, nor did he call 9-1-1,” authorities stated, per the Kansas City Star.
Police seized a loaded 9mm pistol during Carpenter’s arrest. The handgun allegedly matches the shell casing collected from the crime scene. Carpenter was later charged and booked into a county jail, pending trial proceedings.
According to prosecutors, who cited text messages, Carpenter had been harassing Hammond in the month leading up to her death. After conducting a search of Hammond’s mobile device, investigators uncovered text messages the night from before the slaying in which Hammond told Carpenter that she didn’t want him to "touch her" or "manipulate her,” per a case complaint, cited by Foxx affiliate KMSP. Hammond also requested that he "not make things uncomfortable at work."
Co-workers of Hammond, who described him as having a “bad temper,” said Hammond had continually rebuffed his romantic advances in recent weeks. Hammond’s supervisor, however, told local news outlets that the company was unaware of the alleged harassment.
"Unfortunately, we had no idea," Hammond's employer Rob Dubow told KMSP. "Any time there is anything that requires our intervention we step in. But in this case we had no indication that there was anything awry."
Her boss described the Minnesota woman as a charming and charismatic person.
"Nicole always had a smile on her face, and anybody who had any association with her couldn't help but like her," Dubow added.
Another co-worker described Hammond as “a beautiful, smart, determined young woman” in a Facebook post.
Carpenter is being held at a Benton County detention facility, according to online jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com. He’s being held on a $4 million bond, per the Minnesota StarTribune. Carpenter’s next court date is set for Nov. 8. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal representation.
If convicted of Hammond’s murder, Carpenter could face a possible 40-year prison sentence.
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