A North Carolina standoff ended with five dead, including two sheriff’s deputies. It started as a welfare check Wednesday, transitioning into a deadly battle that left the suspect, the suspect’s parents, and two officers dead at the scene. There are many questions still unanswered, including motive.
Investigators said the two deputy officers, K-9 Deputy Logan Fox, and Sgt. Chris Ward were responding to a report that the homeowner and his family did not go into work and weren’t answering their calls. Ward and Fox made it to the home at 553 Hardaman Circle in Boone at 9:44 a.m. Wednesday but were ambushed as soon as they got inside.
According to a statement from the Watauga County Sheriff, while gunfire rained on the two North Carolina deputies, Ward was “extracted from the scene,” yet Fox remained inside. Another Boone police officer was shot in the head while attempting the rescue but their helmet saved their life.
Police arrived on the scene just before 10:00 a.m. and the standoff lasted until around 11 p.m. Wednesday. The shooter barricaded himself in his home, firing shots at law enforcement officers at the scene. Nearby residents were evacuated and over twelve law enforcement agencies arrived to assist in evacuation and containment.
The suspect’s mother and stepfather were found dead in the home when the North Carolina standoff ended, and the suspect appeared to have killed himself. Officer Ward died at the hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee, according to Sheriff Len Hagaman, and Fox died at the scene.
The suspect has not been identified and investigators are searching for a motive. “The individual suspected of killing the two officers is also suspected of killing two civilians in the residence,” the sheriff’s office explained. “The names of the civilians are not being released at this time.”
Gov. Roy Cooper spoke on the tragic events that unfurled in Boone Wednesday, offering condolences and assistance to those affected.
“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,” the governor said. “These horrific shootings that claimed lives and loved ones show the ever-present danger law enforcement can encounter in the line of duty.”
According to reports, Fox and Ward went to the home over the weekend but came back Wednesday to check on the suspect’s mother and stepfather. Hagaman explained that the deputies did not expect the shooter to be there.
It wasn’t until midnight, a couple of hours after the 13-hour standoff that residents of the neighborhood were allowed back in their homes. Shortly after that, Channel 9paid tribute to the fallen deputies with a procession down Highway 421.
The event unfurled only a day after Carlos Lopez Melendez went on a shooting spree in Los Angeles. The mass shooting left two dead and two more wounded, spotlighting the growing firearm epidemic in the United States.
President Joe Biden spoke on the incident, calling on Congress to pass essential bills to combat the rise in illegal firearms. The mass shooting in North Carolina likely bolsters Biden’s stance.
Sheriff Len Hagaman spoke on the tragic incident that left five dead, including two of his officers: “We shouldn’t have to go through this. Once was devastating, but this is just unreal. It’s just — I can’t put it into words. The saving grace though is the community has come together in support, both mentally, physically, spiritually. And so, we certainly want to let the community know that we know they love us.”
Gun control reform awaits Senate approval of two House-passed bills, which would strengthen background checks and close the ‘Charleston loophole,’ extending the time federal investigators have to conduct background checks.