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Mich. Corrections Officer Killed in Parking Lot Outside Home in Suspected Robbery

Clarence Tariq Hammond III punched out of work at the Macomb Correctional Facility about 10 p.m. Friday.

By midnight, he'd been gunned down in the parking lot of his home at President Madison Apartments in Madison Heights.

Now police are trying to piece together who killed the 33-year-old father and state prison corrections officer -- and why.

"He will truly be missed," Hammond's aunt, Reola Hammond, said Sunday.

As police searched his phone and computers for clues, family members remembered Hammond as a respectful, caring man and fantastic father whose two young boys were the joy of his life.

"They loved him dearly, and he loved them dearly," his aunt said.

Clarence Hammond Jr. described his son as a man of honor: "He always wanted to contribute in terms of trying to help other people," he said.

He rushed to the apartment complex after getting a call from another family member.

"It was devastating," he said.

Hammond died of a gunshot wound to the head, an Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office employee said Sunday. The office performed an autopsy Saturday and ruled the death a homicide.

Police are investigating several possibilities of what happened in the 31700 block of Harlo, including a robbery gone wrong, and whether Hammond's career played a role.

Madison Heights Police Sgt. Marc Zupic declined to say what, if anything, was taken from Hammond, but said the shooter demanded things. No additional details were released.

On Sunday, police worked with a witness who knew Hammond to come up with a sketch of the shooter, Zupic said. That drawing may be finished and released today, he said.

Hammond left his job in New Haven about 10 p.m. and was still wearing his uniform when he was killed, Russ Marlan, a spokesman with the Michigan Department of Corrections, said Sunday.

"It's an extremely tragic event," Marlan said. "He was a very well-liked officer at the correctional facility."

Hammond worked for the Department of Corrections for about six years. He graduated from Ferris State University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 2000, Marlan said.

Anyone with information about the shooting should call Madison Heights police at 248-585-2100 or Crime Stoppers at 800-773-2587 (800-SPEAKUP).

McClatchy-Tribune News Service