Boone, N.C. — Two Watauga County deputies were confirmed to have died, along with three members of a family, in a shooting that prompted a standoff outside a Boone home that lasted for much of Wednesday.
The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office said Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox were killed. Fox died at the scene, while Ward died at Johnson City Medical Center across the state line in Tennessee.
Ward and Fox were shot when they went into a home on Hardaman Circle on Wednesday morning after the homeowner’s employer requested a welfare check, authorities said. The ensuing standoff lasted roughly 13 hours before ending just before 11 p.m.
Afterward, authorities found Isaac Alton Barnes, 32, and his parents, George Wyatt Ligon, 58, and Michelle Annette Ligon, 61, dead inside the home.
“I love and miss them all so much,” Sommer Barnes said Thursday, confirming that her brother, mother and stepfather were dead.
Isaac Barnes is suspected of killing both his parents and the two deputies, authorities 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 County Sheriff Len Hagaman. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”
A Boone police officer was also hit by gunfire but wasn’t injured due to his protective equipment.
Ward, 36, began his law enforcement career in 2013. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Fox, 25, had been with the sheriff’s office for two years, working with K-9 “Raven.”
Gov. Roy Cooper expressed his condolences with a statement:
“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 Sheriff Len Hagaman to offer condolences and additional assistance.”
The State Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation.
Ward was dispatched to the home in Boone at 9:44 a.m. Wednesday after the homeowner and his family didn’t report to work or answer telephone calls, authorities said. He and Fox entered the home and were hit by gunfire.
Authorities were able to pull Ward out of the home and away from the scene, but a wounded Fox was trapped inside the home throughout the standoff, authorities said.
Approximately 15 law-enforcement agencies, including the SBI and the State Highway Patrol, responded to the standoff.
Clarence Wilson, 78, said he was on his porch when deputies pulled up in front of the house across the street. Gunfire erupted after the deputies arrived, he said.
“Then they told me to get back in the house and stay,” Wilson said, adding that he later saw deputies pull a man from the house.
“I don’t know if it was a deputy or who it was,” he said. “I was just worried about keeping myself safe.”
Wilson said he heard a second barrage of gunfire around noon Wednesday as the house remained surrounded.
He said it’s a “real quiet neighborhood” with many retirees like himself.
“We ain’t used to all this,” he said.