Police officers are often called upon to conduct welfare checks on citizens in their homes. A welfare check can be called into a department by a concerned citizen, a family member, or an employer.
According to WBTV, two sheriff's deputies went to a home on Hardaman Circle in the town of Boone for a welfare check. The residents had not been in to work that day and had not answered phone calls.
Deputies verified that vehicles on the property belonged to everyone who was known to be living in the home. Deputy Logan Fox and Sergeant Chris Ward went into the home around 9:44 a.m.
The deputies encountered gunfire right off the bat. Both were struck. Deputy Fox died at the scene while Sgt. Ward was rescued from the home during the 13-hour standoff that ensued.
Unfortunately, St. Ward succumbed to his injuries and died at the hospital.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a Boone police officer, a Boone firefighter, and an Appalachian State University police officer all received fire while attempting to rescue the two deputies trapped inside.
Only the Boone police officer was hit with a bullet, however, he was not injured because his Kevlar helmet protected him. In all, 12 different law-enforcement agencies responded to the incicent at the home.
The stand-off ended at 11:00pm, 13 hours after its start, when the suspect shot himself.
“This is an incredibly tragic situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved as well as their families and our community. I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law-enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”Sheriff Len Hagaman
According to Sheriff Hagaman, the suspect, 32-year old Issac Alton Barnes, is believed to have killed his mother and his stepfather, Michelle Annette Ligon and George Wyatt Ligon.
A Community In Shock
Neighbors were evacuated from the area or told to remain in their homes, depending on their proximity to the Ligon residence.
Many were shocked that something like this could happen in their small town. For one Dollar Tree employee, Kimberly Main, the incident reminded her of a shooting in Watauga County in 2012, where 23-year-old deputy William Mast died.
“The Dollar Tree Family is praying for the families involved all the way around,” said Main. “We love you.”
Sadly, these two officers lost their lives because they were ambushed by the suspect.