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5 dead, including two Deputies, after stand-off on Hardaman Circle

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Last Updated on May 2, 2021 6:02 pm

Updates are posted as the information becomes available. The newest updates appear at the top.


Update Friday, April 30, 6:57 am – Boone Police has announced that a processional will take place today to bring the bodies of K-9 Deputy Logan Fox and Sgt. Chris Ward back from Winston Salem to Boone. Below is the statement:

Our brothers will be coming home today. Processional will be from Winston Salem to Boone, starting at 1pm. Services to be announced at a later time. Thank all of you for the overwhelming outpouring of support and love to our Law Enforcement family and the families of those lost. Please continue to pray for everyone, that our community will be strong and unified in the days ahead.


Update 4:40 pm – Statement from Wright Tilley; Executive Director, Watauga County TDA:

The Boone and Watauga County Tourism Development Authorities (TDAs) are deeply saddened by the tragic events that took place in our community yesterday. In addition to the loss of two Watauga County Deputies, we lost a member of our staff.

Michelle Ligon was the Director of PR and Social Media for the tourism development authority. Devoting 20 years to marketing and promoting this wonderful place that she loved, Michelle wrote and inspired many national and regional stories about Boone and the High Country. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michelle’s family, friends and tourism colleagues. We also extend our sympathy to George’s family.

We send our deepest appreciation to all the law enforcement agencies that responded to this tragic event yesterday, and we offer our condolences to the families of the two officers who lost their lives protecting our community.


Update 4:06 pm – Statement from Watauga County Sheriff's Office:

BOONE, NC – A standoff between law enforcement and an individual at 553 Hardaman Circle in Boone, North Carolina ended shortly before 11 p.m. on April 28.

On April 28 at 9:44 a.m., Watauga County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for a welfare check at the home when the homeowner’s employer called to report the homeowner did not report to work or respond to telephone calls.

Deputies entered the residence after discovering all vehicles belonging to the residents were on the property. Upon entering the home, two Watauga County Sheriff’s deputies received gunshot wounds from an unknown individual within the residence.

K-9 Deputy Logan Fox died at the scene. Sgt. Chris Ward died after being flown to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment.

Deputy Logan Fox, 25, is a two-year veteran of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. He was a K-9 officer who handled Watauga County Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Raven.” Prior to working at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office as a full-time deputy, he served as full-time deputy with the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Fox’s true passion was serving as a K-9 Officer.

Sgt. Chris Ward, 36, is an eight-year veteran in the field of law enforcement. He married his high school sweetheart and is a father of two, ages 19 and 5. He began his career at the Beech Mountain Police Department in 2013, later moving on to the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

The individual suspected of killing the two officers, Isaac Alton Barnes, 32, is also suspected of killing Michelle Annette Ligon, 61, and George Wyatt Ligon, 58, both of 553 Hardaman Circle in Boone. Barnes, who is the son and stepson of the deceased civilians, died at the scene.

During an initial rescue attempt of the deputies, one Boone Police Officer was hit by gunfire. The Boone Officer was protected by his ballistic helmet and uninjured. Watauga County’s Rescue Task Force, comprised of the Boone Police Department, Appalachian State Police Department, Boone Fire Department, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, responded to the scene in this rescue attempt.

“This is an incredibly tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved as well as their families and our community,” said Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman in a statement on April 28. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”

Law enforcement agencies supporting the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department at the scene included: Appalachian State University’s Police, Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Beech Mountain Police, Blowing Rock Police, Boone Police, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Hickory Police, Morganton Public Safety, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office, West Jefferson Police and Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office was also assisted by a large number of Emergency Management Departments, Fire Departments, Emergency Medical Services, and Rescue Squads from the surrounding area. Samaritans Purse, Billy Graham Ministries and several area churches, including Mount Vernon Baptist Church, were also instrumental in supporting operations related to this incident.

The investigation is ongoing, and is being led by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

5 dead, including two Deputies, after stand-off on Hardaman Circle
Sgt. Chris Ward
5 dead, including two Deputies, after stand-off on Hardaman Circle
Deputy Logan Fox
5 dead, including two Deputies, after stand-off on Hardaman Circle
Boone Police Helmet and shield

Update 1:44 pm – Appalachian State Chancellor Dr. Sheri Everts statement via Twitter.


Video of the procession for Sgt. Chris Ward's body being brought back to Watauga from Johnson City, TN late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. Video: Andy Toms


5 dead, including two Deputies, after stand-off on Hardaman Circle

Update 10:47 am – Governor Roy Cooper has issued a statement via Twitter.



Update 9:51 am – Statement from Watauga County Sheriff's Office:

BOONE, NC – A standoff between law enforcement and an individual at 553 Hardaman Circle in Boone, North Carolina ended shortly before 11pm on April 28.

On April 28 at 9:44am, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for a welfare check at the home when the homeowner’s employer called to report the homeowner did not report to work or respond to telephone calls.

Deputies entered the residence after discovering all vehicles belonging to the residents were on the property. Upon entering the home, two Watauga County Sheriff’s deputies received gunshot wounds from an unknown individual within the residence.

K-9 Deputy Logan Fox died at the scene. Sgt. Chris Ward died after being flown to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment.

The individual suspected of killing the two officers is also suspected of killing two civilians in the residence. The names of the civilians are not being released at this time.

During an initial rescue attempt of the WCSO officers, a Boone Police officer was hit by gunfire, but was uninjured due to his protective equipment.

“This is an incredibly tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved as well as their families and our community,” said Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman in a statement on April 28. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”

Law enforcement agencies supporting the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department at the scene included: Appalachian State University’s Police, Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Beech Mountain Police, Blowing Rock Police, Boone Police, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Hickory Police, Morganton Public Safety, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office, West Jefferson Police and Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation is ongoing, and is being led by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.


Update 8:58 am – From local energy provider Blue Ridge Energy.


Update 8:36 am – Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is expressing her condolences this morning via Twitter.


6:32 am Thursday April 29 – The standoff ended late Wednesday night. An update from local officials is expected this morning. WataugaOnline.com will update as that information becomes available.


Overnight, Senator Thom Tillis expressed condolences via Twitter.


Update 9:01 pm Wednesday April 28 – Statement from Watauga County Sheriff's Office

BOONE, NC – On April 28 at 9:44am, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for a welfare check at 553 Hardaman Circle in Boone, North Carolina. The homeowner’s employer called when the homeowner did not report to work or respond to telephone calls.

Deputies entered the residence after discovering all vehicles belonging to the residents were on the property. Upon entering the home, two Watauga County Sheriff’s deputies received gunshot wounds from an unknown individual within the residence.

One officer, Sgt. Chris Ward, died after being flown to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment. K-9 Deputy Logan Fox remains on the scene. His condition is unknown at this time.

The names and conditions of any civilians are also unknown at this time.

“This is an incredibly tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved as well as their families and our community,” said Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”

Law enforcement agencies supporting the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department at the scene include: Appalachian State University’s Police, Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Beech Mountain Police, Blowing Rock Police, Boone Police, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Hickory Police, Morganton Public Safety, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office, West Jefferson Police and Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.

The shooter remains active on scene, barricaded in a section of the home. The shooter periodically fires the weapon in the direction of officers. 

Law enforcement currently has the home surrounded and has evacuated nearby residents.


Update 8:00 pm – The stand off is still continuing at this hour. SWAT teams, another medical helicopter and other law enforcement have relieved teams/units that have been on the scene for most of the day. No other details are available currently.


Update 7:58 pm – The Carter County Tennessee Sheriff's Office has posted via their Facebook page, “Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office tonight and in the coming days. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. Matthew 5:9”


Update 7:43 pm – The Cove Creek Fire Department has posted the following statement on their Facebook page, “Our hearts are heavy tonight. On behalf of the Cove Creek Fire Dept, we ask that you keep our great Sheriffs Office, all of the officers involved and the families in your thoughts and prayers. We at Cove Creek stand with and support our brothers and sisters in blue.”


Update 7:03 pm – There's a lot of social media rumors floating around, sadly. WataugaOnline.com can confirm that there were NO minor children involved in this situation. That information provided by a spokesperson authorized to speak on the matter.



Update 5:12 pm from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) has deployed to Boone, North Carolina, after two Watauga County Sheriff’s deputies were reportedly shot while completing a welfare check on Wednesday.

The Rapid Response Team, a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, just a couple of hours from Boone. A team of four chaplains is headed to the mountain town, along with a Mobile Ministry Center, which offers a safe space for people to talk and pray.

Edward Graham, a son of Franklin Graham who grew up in Boone and works for BGEA’s sister ministry Samaritan’s Purse, tweeted, “Praying for Watauga County and Boone NC law enforcement today. They are having a very difficult day, details still coming out, but we have the finest professionals serving our community. Please be praying for them and their families today.”


Update 4:14 pm – The Watauga County Sheriff's Office has released a statement:

On April 28 at 9:44 a.m., the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for a welfare check at 553 Hardaman Circle in Boone because the homeowner and his family did not attend work or respond to telephone calls.

Deputies entered the residence after discovering all vehicles belonging to the residents were on the property.

Upon entering the home, deputies received gunfire from an unknown individual within the residence. Two deputies received gunshot wounds. One deputy was extracted from the location and has been flown to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment. The other deputy remains on the scene. The condition of the deputy on scene remains unknown at this time.

The shooter remains active on scene, barricaded in a section of the home. The shooter periodically fires the weapon in the direction of officers.

Law enforcement currently has the home surrounded and has evacuated nearby residents.


Update 3:25 pm – Two deputies were shot during the stand-off, according to a report by Spectrum News. The condition of the officers was not known as of this update.

Law enforcement officers were originally called to the scene for a welfare check.


Update 2:28 pm – Photos courtesy of Brandy Marie

5 dead, including two Deputies, after stand-off on Hardaman Circle
5 dead, including two Deputies, after stand-off on Hardaman Circle
5 dead, including two Deputies, after stand-off on Hardaman Circle

UPDATE from Boone Police at 1:02 pm – “Boone Police is currently assisting the Watauga County Sherriff's Office in the Brown's Chapel Area of Watauga County with an ongoing stand-off. No additional information is available at this time.”


Wednesday April 28 11:12am – Multiple law enforcement agencies are working an active situation in the area of Hardaman Circle and Browns Chapel Road. That area is blocked off to all traffic.

Medical helicopter landing zones have also been set up in the area, according to scanner dispatches. Additional law enforcement assistance has been requested from Ashe and Wilkes counties, according to scanner dispatches. North Carolina Highway Patrol and The State Bureau of Investigations are also on the scene.

Watauga County Emergency Services sent out an alert for those in that area to shelter in place.

This situation is still developing and WataugaOnline will update as more information becomes available.

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