Two North Carolina deputies die after 13-hour standoff with shooter

Two North Carolina deputies die after 13-hour standoff with shooter
© Getty Images

Two North Carolina sheriff’s deputies have died after a 13-hour standoff Wednesday with a shooter who barricaded himself inside of a house.

The suspected gunman died at the scene, police said Thursday.

News first broke Wednesday evening that two deputies had been shot at a home in Boone, N.C. By Thursday morning, multiple outlets reported that Watauga County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Ward died at Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City, Tenn., after being wounded by gunfire from the standoff.

ADVERTISEMENT

The sheriff’s office later confirmed that Ward died from his injuries. Police also said K-9 Deputy Logan Fox was shot and died at the scene.

Authorities identified the suspected gunman as 32-year-old Isaac Alton Barnes. Police said he also shot and killed his mother, 61-year-old Michelle Annette Ligon, and his stepfather, George Wyatt Ligon, 58.

Officials did not specify how Barnes died.

A Boone police officer was shot in the head at the standoff, but a helmet protected them him from harm, according to the sheriff's office.

“This is an incredibly tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved as well as their families and our community,” Sheriff Len Hagaman said in a statement Wednesday.

“I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

The hours-long standoff occurred after Ward and Fox were called to the house in Boone, about 100 miles northwest of Charlotte, to conduct a wellness check for a family whose members had not shown up at work or responded to phone calls Wednesday.

Authorities said that upon arriving at the home, they saw all of the family’s vehicles. After they entered the home, a gunman opened fire on the officers, striking two of them. 

Nearby residents were ordered to shelter in place as police from numerous departments arrived at the scene, where the gunman allegedly shot at law enforcement periodically. 

North Carolina state police and SWAT operators, officers from multiple departments and deputies from neighboring counties aided in the response, as did North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation.

Updated at 5:07 p.m.