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Eight Hour Standoff in Ashe County Ends Thursday Morning, Suspect Deceased

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020 4:14 pm

An eight hour standoff in Ashe County came to an end in the early morning hours of Thursday.

The stand off started at approximately 6pm on Wednesday night (January 15) and was related to a welfare check in the Fleetwood area, according to a statement by Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell. “Phone calls and communication from the suspect indicated he wanted to cause harm to any law enforcement individual,” the statement also reads.

Media reports say officers were dispatched for a welfare check at 6259 U.S. Highway 221. Sheriff Howell also said in the statement that, “Just before arriving on scene, Ashe County Deputies were shot at multiple times. Phone calls and communication from the suspect indicated he wanted to cause harm to any law enforcement individual.”

The statement from Sheriff Howell goes on to say, “After approximately eight hours the situation ended with a deceased male suspect located at the scene. All officers, first responders and support personnel were unharmed even though law enforcement was fired upon multiple times during the incident.”

The statement continues by saying, “Local and State Agencies from all around joined together during the standoff that resulted in multiple shots during the entire saga. The Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, West Jefferson Police Department, Jefferson Police Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol, State Bureau of Investigation, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police Department, Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office, Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office & the Appalachian State University Police Department came together to pool resources for the situation.”

“We appreciate the help and assistance of Ashe Medics, West Jefferson Volunteer Fire Dept., Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Dept., Warrensville Volunteer Fire Dept. and Watauga EMS.”

“We immediately requested the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a full investigation into the matter which is standard procedure for the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office.”

Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagman told WataugaOnline.com in the early morning hours of Thursday, “our WCSO/Boone PD/Appalachian State (combined) SRT (Special response team) was requested by the Ashe County Sheriff‘s office to be deployed to a staging area just off of 194 and US 221 in Ashe County.”

Sheriff Hagaman also noted that because it was a combined effort between the three agencies mentioned above, “because of the consolidated team that there is access to specialized resources – K9’s (by Watauga and Boone), Aerial UAV/Drone with a FAA Certified Law Enforcement pilot (Appalachian State University), and, as needed, access to the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office EOD/Explosive Ordinance Unit.”

A section of Highway 221 from Water Tank Road to Vernon Roten Road were closed during the incident and nearby residents were evacuated, according to media reports.

The deceased man's name has not been released as of late Thursday afternoon.

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