A former college football star is shot by a stalker.
Dick Hansen’s killer
Dick Hansen was a former college football star from Sunnyvale, California. He was just getting over a tough divorce when he decided he needed a night out. So on April 29, 1991, he asked a friend, who we’ll call Jean, to meet him at his favorite hang-out. According to Jean:
“He was in a very good mood, very good. He was very happy with where he was, he was very happy with what was going on in his life and where he was headed.”
Dick was shot by the rogue motorist
Jean said she and Dick left the bar together in her car and drove to where Dick had left his pickup truck:
“There were no cars at all and I remarked to Dick, I said, ‘This is funny, yours is the only car left on the street.’ So we were sitting there talking, and this car pulls up behind us. And I looked, and I thought, I don’t even think it was too strange because there was a mailbox on the sidewalk there. The man just sat there, he didn’t do anything, and I was kinda half-turned in the seat so I could look at Dick, and I could see him out of the corner of my eye.”
Was the killer a crazed sports fan?
When it was time to leave, Jean said she was unfamiliar with the route home, so Dick told her to follow him:
“Well, he pulled out, I pulled out, the guy behind us pulled out. Moving up to the stoplight, turning left, Dick turned left, I turned left, the guy turned left. We go up two blocks and turned left again, and he did the same thing. Well, by this time it’s making me uncomfortable, so I moved to the middle lane. He moved to the middle lane. So I moved back. And he moved back. I only did it once, but that was enough to tell me that this man was definitely following us.”
At the next traffic light, Dick signaled for Jean to follow him onto the freeway. The man stayed close behind. For more than ten miles, Jean said, the man shadowed her every move:
“Dick was on the inside lane, I was on the outside and somehow we got the guy between us but behind us, and I thought, ‘All right, you rascal, I’m gonna get you.’ So I slammed on my brakes. I’ll be darned if he didn’t slam on his brakes, too. It was almost like he was reading my mind. I almost missed the turn, but he followed. This man was still behind me. So I followed Dick down the ramp, we made a right hand turn. Dick just pulled over to the side of the road. I pulled up behind Dick and I don’t know why in my mind I just knew this guy would just go right on by and wave or something. He pulled right up behind us. And I don’t know who was in more shock, Dick or me. So Dick walked back to the man and kinda leaned down, and he either said, what are you doing or what do you want? I couldn’t quite hear what he said. And the guy said something to him, and Dick goes, what? And the guy said something else to him and then proceeded to point to the back of my car. And at that point in time, Dick just stepped back, stood up and raised his arm and said, get the blankety-blank out of here. So I jumped back in my car and I looked in my rearview mirror and I hear pop – pop.
Dick went down. As the gunman sped off, Jean got out of her car:
“I ran back to where Dick was. And his eyes were like half closed. And I tried to find the pulse on his neck and it didn’t look like he was breathing, so I started to give him mouth to mouth.
Dick Hansen was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the neck. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital. He left behind two daughters, aged 11 and 13. According to Det. Les Richards of the Sunnyvale, California, Police Department, the authorities had trouble ascertaining a motive:
“As far as we know, Dick Hansen did not know his assailant. What makes this particular case extremely difficult is that most homicides boil down to common denominators of sex, money or drugs and network out from there. We have not been able to put this particular homicide in any of those categories so that we can develop a motive.”
Jean tried to lose the stalker
However, police have come up with one possible theory about this case. Jean’s personalized license plate read “Forty-Niner Hugs.” The killer had gestured toward her license plate while he was talking to Dick. Det. Richards wonder’s if the killer wasn’t a crazed sports fan:
“Dick Hansen’s physical stature was that of a football player, so we were looking into the theory of a disgruntled fan as being one of the responsibles.”
At the time of the shooting, Jean described the suspect as white, with a dark complexion. He wore eyeglasses with large black frames. In addition, the suspect’s car looked like a 1970 Pontiac GTO LeMans. It was a two-door coupe, with a dull, faded, light grey or blue paint job. Dick Hansen’s killer remains at large.
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season six with Robert Stack and in season four with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.
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