photo - Richard Hammond.
Richard Hammond. 

Employees of Falcon School District 49 were stunned after learning the district's transportation director had been found shot to death on Valentine's Day near his home in Denver.

Richard Hammond, 63, was shot sometime early Tuesday morning while reportedly on his way to work, Denver police said Thursday. He had left his house between 3:30-4 a.m., police said.

Hammond was found behind the wheel of his 2012 silver Subaru Impreza, shot to death in an alley half a mile from his house near Bruce Randolph Avenue and York Street, police said.

Police are investigating Hammond's death as a homicide, and Denver's Office of the Medical Examiner said he was pronounced dead at the scene, having died of multiple gunshot wounds.

No arrests have been announced.

Matt Meister, District 49 spokesman, said Thursday the news was a shock to the district that had known Hammond as "a kind, humble servant who loved his work and his people."

"We're really missing him," Meister said.

Meister described Hammond as "someone of high moral character" and said he leaves behind "a legacy of a caring culture and the right way of doing things."

Gazette news partner KKTV reported that Hammond leaves behind three children, two step-children and a wife.

Haley Gordy, Hammond's step-daughter, said that waiting for answers makes his death even more difficult, KKTV reported. She described him as "an amazing man" who "always was here for us."

"It just would be nice to have closure, like figure out what happened," Gordy said. "Right now, it just sucks not knowing and just waiting."

Since joining the district in July 2012, Hammond began advocating at the state capitol for school bus cameras to be used to help identify and prosecute offenders who did not obey the stop arm.

He also collaborated with other districts to come up with solutions to some of the challenges they all faced, Meister said.

"It shows the commitment he had to protecting children and our students," Meister said. "He's what a lot of us individuals in District 49 aspired to be."

Meister said staff are grieving together and "doing the best we can to support (Hammond's) family."

Hammond's family could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Denver police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 719-913-7867. Tips leading to an arrest could lead to a $2,000 reward.

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