UPDATE: The Watauga Sheriff's Office identified the suspect in the fatal shooting of two Watauga County deputies and two other people near Boone as Isaac Alton Barnes, 32. The other two people who died were his mother, Michelle Annette Ligon, 61, and his step-father, George Wyatt Ligon, 58. The Ligons lived at the home where the standoff occurred. Watauga Sheriff Len Hagaman said in an interview with media today that "the attitude of the suspect (Barnes) was such that he was planning this, not necessarily the officers, but the public. Hagaman said the sheriff's office received calls Sunday advising officers to be on the look-out for the suspect. He said there were family concerns that he "might try to do something... and he evidently had a fairly large cache of weapons."
At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted, "We grieve for Sgt. Chris Ward, K-9 Deputy Logan Fox and the entire Watauga County law enforcement community today after these tragic deaths in the line of duty. These horrific shootings that claimed lives and loved ones show the ever-present danger law enforcement can encounter in the line of duty. I have talked with (Watauga) Sheriff Len Hagaman to offer condolences and additional assistance."
Two Watauga County Sheriff’s Office deputies were fatally shot Wednesday, according to a press release issued by the Watauga Sheriff’s Office Wednesday night.
The deputies were shot while responding to a call requesting a welfare check at a home on Hardaman Circle near Brown’s Chapel Road east of Boone at 9:44 a.m. The homeowner’s employer called and requested the welfare check when the homeowner didn’t report to work or respond to telephone calls.
The release said that after seeing vehicles belonging to the residents outside the home, deputies entered the residence and were fired upon.
The release said one of the deputies, Sgt. Chris Ward, died after being flown to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment. Deputy Logan Fox also was shot and died at the scene. According to media reports, he remained in the house during the standoff.
“The shooter remains active on scene, barricaded in a section of the home. The shooter periodically fires the weapon in the direction of officers. Law enforcement currently has the home surrounded and has evacuated nearby residents,” the release said.
“This is an incredibly tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved as well as their families and our community,” said Watauga Sheriff Len Hagaman. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”
On the scene assisting were the Wilkes, Caldwell, Avery and Henderson sheriff’s offices and the Appalachian State University, Boone, Beech Mountain, Blowing, Hickory Police, Morganton and West Jefferson police department. N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement, State Bureau of Investigation and N.C. Highway Patrol also were there.