MERRIMACK, New Hampshire (CBS/AP) — The flag is lowered to half-staff at the Merrimack New Hampshire Police Department, and flowers are laid at the mother’s home of fallen Virginia police officer Ashley Guindon, shot and killed only a day after being sworn in.
“It leaves a hole in everyone’s heart and the fact that this was an individual of our community, makes it all the more difficult for us to reconcile,” Merrimack Police Department Chief Mark Doyle said.
The Prince William County Police Department announced on its Facebook page that Officer Ashley Guindon had died from the injuries she sustained in the shooting. A county official said a civilian woman was also killed in the domestic dispute Saturday at a northern Virginia home. Authorities said two other officers were wounded while responding to the reported argument.
Hundreds held vigil for Guindon at the Prince William County Police Department Sunday night.
Officers received a call around 5:30 Saturday evening in Woodbridge, about 30 miles southwest of the nation’s capital, about a “verbal argument,” Sgt. Jonathan Perok, spokesman of the Prince William County Police Department, said. It’s not clear how the altercation between the suspect and police began, but the suspect, a military serviceman, is in custody and was not injured, he said. The condition of the other two officers is not known.
A picture of Guindon was posted to the department’s Twitter page on Friday with a tweet that read, “Welcome Officers Steven Kendall & Ashley Guindon who were sworn in today & begin their shifts this weekend. Be Safe!” It is not known if the other officer in the tweet was involved in the shooting incident.
Guindon had been a county police officer a few years ago and had left and returned to the force, Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Saturday night. He said he did not know the exact dates of when she started and left.
In her neighborhood news of Ashley’s death traveled fast. “Very saddened to see someone so young and first day on the job get killed,” neighbor James Gueydan said.
“Absolutely horrible that it happened and tragic the way it did happen.” Chief Doyle said. “For a person who looking to make a career in law enforcement to step out in the street in virtually hours be struck down is horrible thing for anybody.”
Guindon was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. The family later moved to Merrimack, New Hampshire, according to her grandmother, Dorothy Guindon.
“This is really a shock to us,” Dorothy Guindon said. “Ashley was such a nice person.”
“Whenever one of our law enforcement officials makes the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, it cuts through the very fabric of our society,” New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said in a public statement.
Part of the graduating class of 2005, Guindon wrote in her year book, “Live for something rather than die for nothing.”
She was remembered in a letter to the school board and staff by Merrimack High School principal Kenneth Johnson.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time. We will have a moment of silence for her on Monday, and we will remember her on graduation day as well,” he wrote.
“What she has done since she left high school know she served as a member of the Marine Corps, which speaks about her character,” Chief Doyle said. “And the fact that she felt it was important to serve in law enforcement is still a testament to community service.”
At Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia, where the three officers were flown by helicopter after the shooting, more than 100 patrol cars lined the roads outside early Sunday morning to stand vigil and escort Guindon’s body to the medical examiner.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports
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