An Army staff sergeant charged in the murders of his wife and a Virginia police officer on her first day on the job may face the death penalty in the killings, officials said.
Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert said he will likely seek capital punishment for 32-year-old Ronald Hamilton, who is being held without bond on charges including capital murder of a police officer, first-degree murder and malicious wounding of a police officer.
Hamilton, a Pentagon worker, and his wife, Crystal Hamilton, had been arguing all day Saturday, when the fight became physical, according to reports.
She called 911, escalating his response, police said.
Officers responded to their Woodbridge home about 5:40 p.m., where they were allegedly confronted by Hamilton at the door, the Prince William County Police Department said.
He opened fire on the police, killing rookie officer Ashley Guindon and seriously wounding two others before he surrendered, cops said.
The three officers were flown to Fairfax INOVA Hospital, but Guindon, 28, could not be saved.
“Last evening was Officer Guindon’s first shift after being sworn-in as a police officer,” the department wrote after she passed away.
The department posted a photo of Guindon to their Twitter page a day before she was fatally shot, writing: “Welcome Officers Steven Kendall & Ashley Guindon who were sworn in today & begin their shifts this weekend. Be safe!”
Welcome Officers Steven Kendall & Ashley Guindon who were sworn in today & begin their shifts this weekend.Be safe! pic.twitter.com/92c2YLjcQx— Prince William Co PD (@PWCPoliceDept) February 26, 2016
Ten-year veteran David McKeown, 33, and eight-and-a-half-year veteran Jesse Hempen, 31, remained hospitalized and are expected to recover, authorities said.
(L-R) Officers David McKeown and Jesse Hempen were shot during the incident. (PWCPD)
“The Prince William County Police Department is in deep mourning over the loss of Officer Ashley Guindon,” the department said in a statement. “Our sincere condolences go out to Ashley's family and friends, as well as, our fellow officers and department staff. We are asking for thoughts and prayers as we monitor the conditions of the two officers who remain hospitalized.”
Guindon's death was the latest tragedy to befall her family, who had mourned her veteran father years earlier when he took his own life, according to reports.
David Guindon was buried with full military honors after killing himself the day after he returned home from Iraq, where he served with the New Hampshire Air National Guard, family told CBS News.
“He came home and took his own life,” Dorothy Guindon, Ashley’s grandmother, told the station.
“This is really a shock to us,” she said of her granddaughter’s killing.
Guindon was a former Marine Corps reservist and had a master’s degree in forensic science, police chief Steve Hudson told reporters.
"On this day, we are all a family in mourning," the Prince William County Police Department wrote on Facebook, posting a photo of a makeshift memorial on a squad car. (Facebook)
She went through training with the department last year but left for personal reasons, rejoining “some months later.”
“When she came back and reapplied, we were struck by her passion to do this job,” Hudson said.
She told them she “couldn’t get it out of her blood,” he continued.
This is Prince William County’s fourth line-of-duty death since the department’s inception in 1970. Guindon is the second officer to be killed feloniously in the line of duty, officials said.
Hamilton’s 29-year-old wife, Crystal, was also killed in the incident, as police found her shot dead inside their home, authorities said.
“I was texting her and texting her, saying ‘where are you? Why aren’t you here?’ I didn’t realize that by then, she was already dead,” Hawla Donley told InsideNoVa, saying Crystal Hamilton was supposed to join her friends at a restaurant the night she was killed.
“She was beautiful inside and out and didn’t deserve this,” Donley said.
Crystal Hamilton and her alleged killer were reportedly high school sweethearts and had been married for more than 10 years, having one child that was the mother’s pride and joy.
An 11-year-old boy was at the home at the time of the shooting, but escaped unharmed and will be released into the custody of a relative, officials said.
Hamilton is expected to be arraigned on Monday, authorities said.