Around 3:30 on Tuesday afternoon, deputies and emergency medical personnel responded to a 9-1-1 call from a resident at Northwind Apartments, located at 5148 Northwind Boulevard, who indicated that a fourteen month old child who had been injured.
Deputies and investigators began examining the scene and interviewing witnesses. It was learned that Justin Scott Hamilton, who resides in the complex, was inside his apartment with his firearm, semi-automatic .40 caliber handgun, and squeezed the trigger thinking that the handgun was unloaded. The firearm discharged sending the projectile through Hamilton's apartment, out an exterior wall where it crossed the breezeway and entered the apartment of the child. The child was struck in the hand sustaining an injury. The mother of the child immediately exited the apartment and rushed the child to the hospital for treatment of the injury.
An off duty Valdosta Police officer, who lives in the complex, heard the commotion and went to the parking lot where he encountered Justin Hamilton. The officer stayed with Justin Hamilton until deputies arrived. Investigators worked the crime scene until approximately 7:30 last night and Justin Hamilton was taken to the Sheriff's Office and charged with reckless conduct and tampering with evidence, both of which are misdemeanor offenses. The tampering with evidence charge is the result of Hamilton moving the spent shell casing in an attempt to conceal it. Justin Hamilton is currently an active duty member of the Air Force and investigators are working with agents from the Office of Special Investigations detachment at Moody Air Force Base.
Justin Hamilton will appear in the Lowndes County Magistrate Court this afternoon where a bond will be considered.