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Soldier admits to shooting wife, police officers

Soldier admits to shooting wife, police officers
Posted at 3:40 PM, Feb 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-29 18:40:36-05

MANASSAS, Va. (AP) — An Army staff sergeant has admitted shooting his wife and three police officers who showed up at his front door, including a rookie officer working her first shift who died from her wounds, according to court records.

Ronald Hamilton, 32, of Woodbridge, is charged with capital murder in Officer Ashley Guindon's shooting death Saturday. He also faces a murder charge in the shooting death of his wife, Crystal Hamilton, 29.

An affidavit filed Monday states that officers arrived at the Hamiltons' home in reference to a 911 domestic dispute call, and were shot with a rifle after Hamilton met the officers at the front door.

The affidavit says that more officers conducted a sweep of the home after Hamilton was brought under control, and they found Crystal Hamilton's body in a bedroom.

"The accused made statements to law enforcement officers stating that he shot his wife and the police officers," according to the affidavit.

Guindon died of rifle wounds to the right arm and torso, medical examiner Nancy Bull said. Crystal Hamilton died of gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

The Hamiltons' 11 year-old son was in the home at the time, and was unharmed. Crystal Hamilton told her son to run away just before she was shot, said Crystal Hamilton's sister, Wendy Howard.

The boy heard the shots but did not see them, Howard told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

"He's trying to come through. He's a strong kid," Howard said.

Howard said she had not been aware of any problems in her sister's marriage until last year, when Hamilton "banned" their mother from the house.

"Because of her stating her concerns for my sister's welfare and also the welfare of my nephew, she was not welcome to come back there anymore, and for her safety I told her I think it would be best if you did not go back there, because at that time we weren't sure of his state of mind," Howard said.

Crystal Hamilton was private about her struggles and did not detail what was going on with her husband, Howard said.

"There was never anything that she personally revealed to me that would have made me concerned," she said.

Hamilton made initial court appearances Monday, appearing via video from the county jail, an orange jumpsuit covering his 6-foot-2, 260-pound frame.

Hamilton said little, except to request a court-appointed attorney. Ed Ungvarsky, the state's capital public defender, was appointed to represent Hamilton.

Ungvarsky told the judge he spoke briefly to Hamilton on Sunday, and said that Hamilton wanted to rescind permission that he had previously given to police to review his medical and military records. He suggested prosecutors should not be allowed to review any documents they may have already obtained.

Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert said after Monday's hearing that any documents obtained by his office before Hamilton rescinded his permission are fair game.

"If they're on my desk, I'll look at them," Ebert said.

Ebert has been the county's top prosecutor for 48 years and has handled numerous high-profile cases, including Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammad. He said Guindon's death has been especially tough on the law-enforcement community and the county as a whole.

"It's taken a toll on everybody. There have been very few dry eyes in the police department the last few days," he said.

Ungvarsky declined comment to reporters after the hearing.

The two wounded officers — Jesse Hempen, 31, and David McKeown, 33 — are expected to survive. Police spokesman Jonathan Perok said Hempen is doing relatively well and is expected to make a quicker recovery. McKeown still faces multiple surgeries, Perok said.

Hamilton was ordered held without bond.

Guindon's funeral will be held Tuesday. Prior to joining the police, Guindon served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 2007 until February 2015, a Marine Corps spokesman said. Among her duties was the processing of fallen service members and their personal effects.