NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A Newport News firefighter and medic was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter after allegedly shooting and killing a woman and then staging the crime scene.
Just before 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 31, 2015, officers responded to a shooting in the 700 block of Windbrook Circle.
Officers arrived on scene and found 26-year-old Kristin Leigh Hambleton inside of the home with an apparent gunshot wound to the face. She was pronounced deceased at the scene by medics, according to police.
Charles Everett Land, 24, who was employed as a firefighter and medic with the Newport News Fire Department, was at the scene when police arrived.
According to court documents, Land told officers that he and Hambleton had gone out earlier in the evening and they had returned to the home. He said he brought his Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun into the residence with him and the two of them began to play with the gun and "dry-fire" it several times.
Land told police that while they were doing this, Hambleton accidentally shot herself in the face.
Investigators examined the scene and found several things that were not consistent with the victim shooting herself. Court documents say the gun appeared to be "manipulated and placed back in the victim's hand after the shooting."
During an interview with investigators, Land admitted that he cleared the gun and put it back in Hambleton's hands because he was "afraid."
A witness told investigators that Land admitted he and Hambleton were dancing around while holding the gun and he thought it had already been cleared.
Land was arrested at Newport News Police Headquarters on the evening of Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison with eight suspended March 16, 2016.
Land and Hambleton have a child in common. They were the only people inside in the residence at the time of the shooting.
The Newport News Fire Department released a statement in 2015 acknowledging the arrest. They said Land would be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of his case:
"The Newport News Fire Department acknowledges the arrest of one its personnel, Charles Land. He has been with the department since January 2011. He will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of his case. In addition to the criminal charges, an administrative investigation will be conducted by the Department."
The news of Land's arrest has put his neighbors on edge.
"I'm going to be looking more at my surroundings, you know, checking everything out, maybe getting to know my neighbors more," neighbor Misti Burton explained.
Friends of Hambleton say she was a dedicated mother and avid gym-goer. Her workout group is planning on selling bracelets that say "Jungle Gym Family Never Forget KH". The proceeds will go back to her family.
Hambleton leaves behind her husband and two children. Her funeral was held at Victory Life Church in Hampton.