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Va. officer slain day after swearing in grew up in Merrimack

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 28. 2016 3:37PM

MERRIMACK - A Virginia police officer fatally shot in the line of duty the day after being sworn in grew up in Merrimack.

Merrimack police Chief Mark Doyle said Sunday that the community was stunned by the news that Ashley Guindon, a 2005 graduate of Merrimack High School, died Saturday night after responding to a domestic violence call in Woodbridge, Va.

"When any law enforcement officer is struck down it leaves a hole in our hearts," Doyle said. "The fact that she and her family are part of the Merrimack community drives that point home even more so."

Doyle said two Merrimack officers were sent to the home of Sharon Guindon around 9 p.m. Saturday to personally inform her of her daughter's death.

Doyle said Prince William County called earlier in the evening after Guindon was shot, then notified Merrimack when the young officer died at a hospital.

Guindon, 28, had just been sworn in with the Prince William County department in suburban Washington, D.C., on Friday.

"To have your life taken away and struck down literally within hours of taking that oath of office, committing yourself and swearing to protect and serve the people in that community is so, so tragic," Doyle said. "A young life like that and the promise that she had is gone in a moment."

Guindon's grandmother, Dorothy Guindon, said Ashley was born in Springfield, Mass., and was raised in Merrimack. She was the only child of Sharon and the late David Guindon, a Navy veteran who also served in the Marine Corps Reserve and then the New Hampshire Air National Guard.

David Guindon killed himself in 2004, the day after coming home from a six-month deployment to Iraq. Ashley graduated high school the next spring and followed her father's military path by joining the Marine Corps Reserves.

Thomas Guindon, David's brother and a detective with the West Springfield, Mass., police department,  told the New Hampshire Sunday News in 2008 that his niece wanted to become a military pilot. She attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, graduating in 2011 with a degree in aeronautics.

Ashley followed her uncle into law enforcement, joining the northern Virginia county police department only to become its fourth officer to die in the line of duty since its inception in 1970.

"We greatly appreciate the overwhelming support we have received from our Prince William County community and from those across the nation and world," the department said in a statement Sunday. "We continue to ask for that support as we move forward with making final arrangements to honor Ashley's sacrifice."

The department said Guindon was one of three officers struck during a shootout with Ronald Williams Hamilton, who was charged Sunday with capital murder of a police officer and one count of first degree murder in the death of his wife, who was found dead in the home.

On Sunday, the department posted a photograph of a black ribbon draped over a squad car in honor of Guindon.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God," the post said.

The department posted a message on Twitter on Friday with a photo of Guindon and a fellow officer after they were sworn in, saying that she would be working her first shifts over the weekend, adding "Be safe!"

Doyle said Guindon's death was a tragic.

"Within hours of being sworn in as a police officer ... your life is taken away from you," he said. "You don't even have an opportunity to do what it is that you set out to do."

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