WOODBRIDGE, Va. - Family members of a wife and mother killed allegedly at the hands of her own husband in their Virginia home over the weekend are grieving an unimaginable loss. Crystal Hamilton called 911 while she and her husband were arguing at their Woodbridge home on Saturday, but before officers could arrive to help, she was allegedly shot and killed by her husband. The officers who did respond would also become victims.
Investigators say Ronald Hamilton, a 32-year-old Army staff sergeant assigned to the Pentagon, shot and killed his wife before also allegedly shooting three Prince William County police officers-- one of whom was rookie Officer Ashley Guindon. Guindon died as a result of her injuries, while the two other officers continue to recover in the hospital. Guindon was on her first shift as a police officer, having been sworn in just a day earlier.
Hamilton is still being held without bond, following two hearings on Monday.
Crystal Hamilton's sister tells FOX 5 she was known to friends and family as Crissy. She says her sister and Ronald were high school sweethearts, and they had been married for 11 years. They also have an 11-year-old son, and the family moved to Virginia from Charleston, South Carolina four years ago.
Crystal's sister says the family thought she had a smart, loving husband who was also a good father. They're heartbroken by what happened on Saturday.
Now, she says, they're also fighting for custody of the couple's son. After the murder, he was temporarily placed with Ronald's family in South Carolina. According to Crystal Hamilton's aunt, family members believe the 11-year-old witnessed his mother's murder. Family members tell FOX 5's Alexandra Limon that since Ronald Hamilton is the immediate surviving family member, he got to sign over custody of their child.
Crystal Hamilton worked with the Wounded Warrior Regiment, serving as a Recovery Care Coordinator in the detachment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. According to a statement posted on the Wounded Warrior Regiment's website, Hamilton was a dedicated member of the team for the last four years, serving the wounded, ill, and injured Marines and their families.
"We are devastated by the loss of Crystal Hamilton," said Col. Scott D. Campbell, WWR commander. "Our hearts go out to her son, her family and all those who, like so many of us, loved her."
In the statement, the Wounded Warrior Regiment said she was known for her bright smile and exuberant personality that "lit up any room and brought comfort to those around her." They also acknowledged that the most important thing in her world was her son, and just days before her death, she was "beaming with pride" after he made the honor roll at school.
On Sunday, a makeshift memorial of flowers and photos honoring Crystal Hamilton grew outside their home. On a poster nailed to a tree, someone had written "Crystal Hamilton, God's new angel."
Neighbors have planned a vigil in Crystal Hamilton's honor, which will be held Tuesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. in front of the family's home (13051 Lashmere Court in Woodbridge).