Skip to main content

Two Sheriff’s Deputies, One Gunman, and Two Relatives Dead in 13-Hour North Carolina Standoff


Two North Carolina sheriff’s deputies were killed in the line of duty Wednesday during a thirteen-hour standoff, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday morning.A suspected gunman killed two others before he is believed to have killed himself.  A local police officer was also shot in the head during an attempt to rescue the fallen sheriff’s deputies, but a helmet saved his life; the police officer was reportedly uninjured.

The events unfolded Wednesday in Boone, N.C., about an hour and a half west of Winston-Salem and near the Tennessee border. According to The Associated Press:

The Watauga County Sheriff’s [O]ffice said Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox were dispatched to a home in Boone at 9:44 a.m. Wednesday after the homeowner and his family didn’t report to work or answer telephone calls. Both were hit by gunfire. Other officers were able to pull out Ward, who later died at a hospital. Fox died at the scene.

Fifteen separate law enforcement agencies reportedly responded to the scene. Images showed a massive law enforcement response.

Reporters also captured the long and difficult efforts to save the deputies who were gunned down. Reports indicate the gunman would intermittently fire at the police throughout the ordeal.

The names of the other three victims have not yet been released, but local news reports indicate that the gunman shot his mother and stepfather. Charlotte, N.C. ABC affiliate WSOC-TV said police had been to the home where the shooting occurred over the weekend, but details of that encounter remain unclear.

Shocked officials in the rural county — total population 56,000 — struggled to make sense of the chaos which enveloped their community.

“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 widely reported statement. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been established for Ward’s children.

Politicians from both parties tweeted condolences.

Local residents also stopped by the sheriff’s department to pay their respects.

[image via screen capture from WXII-TV]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.