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CMPD, victim’s family asks suspect to come forward for CMS volunteer’s killing

CHARLOTTE — A year and a half after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools volunteer was shot and killed at his home, the victim’s family is asking the suspect to come forward.

Ralph Hammond was a big man with a big heart. He served his country in the Army and was stationed in Korea.

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After he was disabled, Hammond continued to serve. For years, he volunteered as a strength coach at Mallard Creek High School.

“We knew anytime from the start of football season ‘til the season was over, we [came] second ‘cause football was everything,” said his sister, Debbie Hammond.

Just before 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, police were called out to Hammond’s home in the University area.

“One of the neighbors realized he had been sitting in the same position for quite some time,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department homicide Det. Daniel Moore. “Went across the street to check on him and they realized that he had been shot.”

“Yes, yes, very hard,” said Pamela Hammond, another of the victim’s sisters. “I miss him so.”

Channel 9′s Glenn Counts met Ralph Hammond’s sisters and his mother at his former home. They’re still frustrated because the case is unsolved.

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“Every hour, I was waiting for somebody to call and say ‘we got him, we got him,’” Debbie said.

So far, that call has not come.

It’s hard for those who knew Hammond to understand why anyone would take his life. Mallard Creek High held a vigil to honor him.

“He was beloved, truly by everyone that I have spoken to,” Det. Moore said. “Acquaintances, family members, former players, everyone I have spoken to has spoken very highly of him.”

Hammond loved football so much, he turned his garage into a gym. Over the years, dozens of players worked out there.

It also served as a refuge. Hammond would come to the gym alone before games, sit in his chair with the garage door open, smoke a cigar, and decompress.

“He’s a big man,” Pamela said. “Walk up into the garage and be on him like that, and you just going to sit there and let them come in on you -- he had to have known them, he had to have known them.”

“The assailant specifically targeted Mr. Hammond,” Moore said. “They knew his habits and they intentionally waited for opportunity and approached him with the intent of specifically targeting him.”

Police have a theory the killer does not fit their profile of someone who would take a life and may not have even broken the law before.

“This person does not appear to be a career criminal,” Moore said.

“Nobody can name anyone who ever had an issue with the victim,” he said.

All Ralph Hammond’s family wants is closure. But they say without an arrest, that’s not possible.

“Put yourself in our shoes. This is my mom’s only son, her only son,” Debbie said. “What would you want somebody to do if it were you?”

“I don’t believe you are necessarily a bad person,” Moore said. “Maybe you made a terrible choice, but this isn’t going to go away. We’re going to keep looking.”

“It’s not fair to us,” Pamela said. “You took something dear to us and then that’s it? No.”

(COLD CASE: DNA evidence points to possible suspect in Charlotte woman’s 1990 killing)

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