An Army sergeant stationed at the Pentagon has been accused of shooting a police officer dead on her first day on the job.
Police in Prince William County, Virginia, say Ronald Hamilton, 32, who is the son of a police officer, shot and killed Officer Ashley Guindon with an AK-47 about 5:30 p.m. on February 27. Police were called to Hamilton’s home for a domestic dispute. He’s also accused of killing his wife, Crystal Hamilton, 29, and shooting two other officers who responded with Guindon.
The other officers are still being treated at local hospitals. The shooting occurred in the town of Woodbridge, about 25 miles south of Washington D.C.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia Will Seek the Death Penalty
Hamilton is being held without bail and is facing capital murder charges, according to NBC Washington’s Julie Carey. He will appear in court on February 29 and is being held at the Prince William County Adult Detention Center.
The murder of a police officer can carry the death penalty in Virginia. At a press conference, the attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia said he would seek the death penalty in the case.
In addition to the capital murder offense, Hamilton will also be charged with first-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding of a police officer, and three counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony. Police said in a press conference that Hamilton’s wife called police during the dispute, she was shot before they could arrive. Online records show that Crystal Sheree Hamilton was a native of Albany, South Carolina. She was charged by police in Prince William County for driving too closely to another car in July 2015.
2. His 11-Year-Old Son Was Found in the Home, Unharmed
The Officer Down Memorial Page states that Hamilton is also accused of shooting his wife dead and ambushing the responding officers. NBC Washington reports that Hamilton has an 11-year-old son who lived at the home where the shooting took place. He was unharmed. Inside Nova reports that he was being cared for a the Prince William County police station after the shooting.
You can listen to the police scanner traffic detailing the shooting above.
The extent of the other officer’s wounds have not been made public. They are being treated at Inova Fairfax hospital. Those officers have been named as Jesse Hempen and David McKeown.
The Prince William County police website details that not including Guindon, three officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1970.
In a statement on the Prince William County Police Department Facebook page, it reads:
It is with profound sadness that we announce that Prince William County Police Officer Ashley Guindon, one of the officers involved in this evening shooting on Lashmere Ct, has died as a result of her injuries sustained during the incident.
The investigation into the shooting is still underway and the remaining two officers wounded during the encounter are continuing to be treated for their injuries.
We ask for everyone’s thoughts and prayers as our department deals with this tragic loss. We also ask for continued patience as we learn more about this incident
3. Hamilton Is a Staff Sergeant Stationed in the Pentagon & Is the Son of a South Carolina Cop
Speaking to the Washington Post, Hamilton’s father, also named Ronald, said his son had a “very good upbringing.” Hamilton joined the Army at the age 18.
The suspect’s father, who is a retired major in the Charleston, South Carolina, Police Department, told the Post, “We are grieving the same as all the people in Prince William County, as well as the law enforcement community across the United States. Ronald has always been a calm person and a very friendly person. He had a bright future with the Army and military. We express our thoughts and condolences to everyone who is affected.”
4. Guindon Was a Former Marine Who Dealt With the Administration of Bringing Home the Remains of Slain Soldiers
Guindon was a former Marine, serving as a corporal between 2007 and 2013. She had a degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a master’s from George Washington University where she studied forensic science, according to a press release announcing her graduation from the police academy. The release also says that she “has family in law enforcement.” She was assigned to work patrol in eastern Prince William County.
A tweet from the Prince William County police on February 26 said, “Welcome Officers Steven Kendall & Ashley Guindon who were sworn in today & begin their shifts this weekend. Be safe!”
The Washington Post reports that Guindon graduated from Merrimack high school in New Hampshire in 2005. The paper says she was assigned to Bolling Air Force base where she dealt with sending home the remains of Marines who died in the line of duty.
5. Guindon’s Father Committed Suicide Soon After Returning from the War in Iraq
Her grandmother, Dorothy Guindon, told the Associated Press that the slain officer’s father, David, committed suicide just after returning from Iraq. She said, “He came home and took his own life.”
The Concord Monitor reported in June 2005 that David Guindon killed himself less than 24 hours after returning from Iraq in August 2004. The newspaper wrote, “Police interviews with those who knew Guindon indicate that he seemed cheerful and relaxed the day before his death. More upbeat, certainly, than he had been in Iraq, where his weight loss and increasingly withdrawn behavior had worried the soldiers who were there with him.” He was buried with full military honors.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this report misidentified the suspect as a retired Army colonel with the same name. Heavy.com regrets the error and has removed the incorrect information from this article.
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