A St. Cloud, Minnesota, man has been charged with killing a co-worker who prosecutors say rejected his romantic advances.
Michael Carpenter, 36, has been charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting a co-worker, 28-year-old Nicole Hammond, in the parking lot of their workplace on Lincoln Avenue Northeast in St. Cloud at 6:59 a.m. on October 24.
Witnesses told police they saw Carpenter shoot and kill Hammond Monday morning while she was getting out of her car outside their workplace.
Carpenter Made Several Unwanted Advances Towards Hammond
Prosecutors, citing cell phone records, say Carpenter was harassing Hammond. Those who worked with the victim and the suspect told investigators they knew Carpenter had made several unwanted advances towards Hammond over the past month, but her employer says nothing was ever reported to management.
"Unfortunately, we had no idea," said Hammond's boss Rob Dubow. "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."
Hammond Told Carpenter Not to 'Make Things Uncomfortable at Work'
A search of Hammond's cell phone showed text messages to Carpenter the night before the shooting in which she told him she didn't want him to "touch her" or "manipulate her" and asked that he "not make things uncomfortable at work."
One witness said they heard the gunshot, then saw Carpenter jog to his vehicle before driving away, police said. Carpenter was also seen by a second witness as he was putting on a black jacket while wearing black pants, according to court records.
Police later found Carpenter wearing the same outfit. A 9mm pistol and a loaded magazine were found in his vehicle as officers executed a search warrant, police said. The gun matched the type of shell casings found next to the victim.
In a statement in which police said he gave contradictory information, Carpenter said he walked toward Hammond's car when he heard the gunshot, but ran away when he "was too traumatized" after seeing her body, the probable cause statement says. "He didn't render aid, go to work, nor did he call 9-1-1," police said.
Carpenter Had a 'Bad Temper'
Co-workers said Carpenter has "a bad temper," and he told officers he was "upset" about his text message conversation with Hammond the night before the shooting, according to court records. Carpenter faces up to 40 years in prison if found guilty of the second-degree murder charge. He remains in the Benton County Jail.