‘Profoundly loved’ deputy fatally shot on Christmas Eve by barricaded domestic violence suspect

Tributes are pouring in for Corporal Ray Hamilton, an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputy who was fatally shot on Christmas Eve while responding to a suspected domestic violence call.

“We are reeling this Christmas Eve after Corporal Ray Hamilton lost his life while serving as a Special Response Team member today, shot by a domestic violence suspect the SRT was working to take into custody at his townhome near Fort Walton Beach,” the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s office tweeted on Saturday. “Your prayers are so appreciated.”

In a Saturday statement, the sheriff’s office detailed the tragic events.

“Our OCSO family is grieving and heartbroken,” the statement began.

“The SRT team had been called out to the residence after the suspect in a domestic violence battery refused to come out of the home earlier this morning,” it continued. “At some point before one p.m. this afternoon, the suspect fired shots out of the residence, striking one of our deputies, who was rushed to the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, but ultimately could not be saved. Sheriff Aden and members of the Command Staff are with family members at this time.”

The OCSO went on to say that the suspect, Timothy Price-Williams, 43, was “hit with return fire,” but the injury to him was “non-life threatening.”

“We ask for your prayers tonight for our deputy, his family, and all of us at the OCSO as we work to comprehend this tragedy,” the statement concluded, adding that the office would “provide updates at the appropriate time.”

“It is never easy to say goodbye to any of our heroes, but at Christmas, it makes it even that much more difficult,” the Florida Sheriff’s Association tweeted. “Please pray for the @OCSOALERTS and the family of the deputy. They desperately need it.”

According to the Daily Mail, the Special Response Team was called by Price-Williams’ victim, who said he slapped her in the face and shoved her the night before while the couple was arguing.

Price-Williams took the victim’s phone, preventing her from calling 911 for help.

The suspect then barricaded himself inside the townhouse.

Hamilton was with the SRT, who was trying to negotiate with the suspect and serve him with a warrant on a domestic-violence battery charge when Price-Williams began shooting through a window. Hamilton was entering an area behind the property’s backyard fence when he was struck. He later died at 3 p.m., the OCSO explained on Facebook.

When he was finally convinced to exit the townhouse, his actions prompted another deputy to fire his weapon, hitting Price-Williams in the right arm. He was taken to the hospital, treated, and then jailed on a charge of premeditated first-degree murder in Hamilton’s death.

“We are devastated by the grief of losing Corporal Hamilton, a deputy who was a ray of sunshine in the OCSO, dedicated to protecting others,” said Sheriff Eric Aden on Facebook. “We appreciate the endless stream of words of support that have come in for his family and his co-workers as we face this heartbreaking loss of a profoundly loved and respected friend, public servant, and hero .”

Hamilton leaves behind a wife. His death marks the 61st officer to be killed by gunfire in 2022, according to the New York Post.

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