Allegheny County police seek leads in North Versailles slaying

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Allegheny County police were searching for leads Monday night in the death of a North Versailles mother who was discovered slumped against a car with a gunshot wound to her head.

A man who was walking to his car to go to work called police between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. after he found a woman, later identified as 24-year-old Susan Hammond, lying in the parking lot outside the North Versailles Castles apartment complex.

Ms. Hammond was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:53 a.m., and an autopsy revealed that she died from a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the medical examiner's office.

Officials declined to comment on reports from Ms. Hammond's friends and media outlets that Ms. Hammond had been pregnant.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said Monday night that police were "still in the midst of investigating" and there was "nobody that we want to name as a suspect or a possible suspect."

Assistant Superintendent Jim Morton told KDKA-TV that Ms. Hammond was supposed to report to work at 11 p.m. Sunday but never arrived.

"Some of the residents, during our interviews, said they might have heard gunshots last night but didn't report them because gunshots ... nowadays are always heard somewhere," he said.

Investigators are "almost positive" the shooting happened between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. in the parking lot between two cars parked next to a Dumpster, Superintendent Morton said.

Superintendent Morton said Ms. Hammond lived at the apartment complex with her boyfriend and his mother. Police had questioned the mother but had not reached her son as of Monday afternoon.

Court records indicate that Ms. Hammond has a 5-year-old daughter. Police said they believed she was safe with family members Monday afternoon.

Records also show that Ms. Hammond applied last year for a protection-from-abuse order against a "current or former sexual or intimate partner" and then withdrew her petition. That man has been in jail since last month.

Ms. Hammonds' family, which was cooperating with police, could not be reached for comment Monday night.

Her friend, Santara Dudley, 23, of North Braddock, described her as a loving mother who often juggled two or three jobs so her daughter would have everything she wanted. Ms. Hammond also was an attentive friend, once holding a birthday dinner for Ms. Dudley complete with steak and shrimp.

"When Susan was around, we were always having fun," Ms. Dudley said, adding that she didn't see signs of trouble or strained relationships in her friend's life.

"This is just so shocking," Ms. Dudley said. "I just really don't understand how somebody would do this to her."

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