$10,000 offered in Bessemer murder of father killed in front of daughter at Facebook-brokered gun sale

Ricky Howard Hamrick III
Ricky Howard Hamrick III (Special to AL.com)

By Carol Robinson

The family of a man shot to death in front of his young daughter in Bessemer one month ago is now offering a reward for information that leads to his killers.

Ricky Hamrick III, 39, was shot July 24 during a gun deal brokered on Facebook Marketplace. His 8-year-old daughter, visiting him for the summer, was in the front seat with him when he was killed.

Hamrick’s family on Monday announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

“Our initial leads have been exhausted,’’ said Bessemer police Lt. Christian Clemons. “With the family offering a reward, hopefully that will encourage someone who has information or knows the suspects’ identities to come forward.”

The deadly shooting happened about 4:30 p.m. that Sunday in the 1300 block of Sixth Avenue North in Bessemer. Lt. Christian Clemons said Hamrick and his daughter traveled to Bessemer from Cleburne County to sell a gun.

There was little conversation and apparently no confrontation before at least three bullets were fired into Hamrick’s sedan. Hamrick’s daughter was in the front passenger’s seat but miraculously was unharmed.

“Just a matter of a misplaced angle or a misplaced bullet,’’ Clemons previously said, “and we’re talking about her being struck as well.”

Bessemer homicide July 24, 2022
A man was shot to death Sunday, July 24, 2022, in Bessemer. Police say he was killed during a Facebook Marketplace transaction.

“You can imagine the clientele you have when you sell guns to somebody. You’ve got to wonder who you are selling guns to,’’ Clemons said.

“Unfortunately, he sold guns to somebody that ended his life, somebody who we consider a coward, somebody who is going to shoot a person while they’re sitting in their car.”

“No provocation led to this shooting,’’ Clemons said. “We’re talking about lowdown, dirty, rotten cowards.”

The shooting happened in broad daylight in a residential area near downtown Bessemer and next to the Salvation Army.

Hamrick’s mother, Debbie Stringer, said her son lived next door to her in Heflin and they talked and saw each other every day. Stringer also has two other children close to her granddaughter’s age and said the kids had been inseparable all summer.

She called her son her best friend and said she is devastated by his death.

“He was just a gentle giant. He had no malice in his heart whatsoever,’’ Stringer said. “He loved his family more than anything and his family loved him.”

Hamrick, she said, lost his leg more than a year ago in an accident. He was cleaning his gun when it discharged and struck him just above the knee. It was then they had to do a full amputation.

Because he couldn’t work, he bought and sold items for a profit. It could be a gun, a chainsaw, or any item that could make him a little money.

“He was just a good-hearted man trying to make a living,’’ she said, “trying to get by.”

Stringer said she believes her son was set up to be robbed. The killers took the guns and fled the scene.

“They didn’t have no intention of buying it,’’ she said. “It was cold-blooded murder for nothing, and then his baby had to witness it.”

Clemons said investigators know there is someone out there who has information that will help identify the suspects.

“We want the family to have closure,’’ he said, “and at the same time lock up those responsible before another incident occurs.”

Tipsters can remain anonymous. Anyone with information is asked to call Bessemer police at 205-425-2411, 205-481-4366 or the tip line at 205-428-3541.