SWAT went in, ended the standoff, and started removing bodies. It was the end of a very long day. Two deputies in Boone, North Carolina, were murdered in a cold blooded ambush at around 9:44 a.m. Wednesday morning. A third officer was injured as police spent the whole day exchanging gunfire with the heavily armed suspect. By 11 p.m. the cops were tired of standing around and wanted to go home, so they ended it. Their reports will tell the whole story later but for now they aren’t saying much about what happened after SWAT went in.
A 13-hour standoff
Two adult victims and the “suspected” gunman were “found dead” when officers finally entered the residence which had been barricaded all day for a violent standoff. They aren’t saying if the suspect took his own life or if police did it for him.
The day began with a call to the sheriff asking for a “welfare check” after “the homeowner and his family did not go to work or respond to phone calls.” The last thing the deputies expected when they entered the home was gunfire. As soon as they were in “a person inside the home started shooting.”
Watauga County Sheriff’s Office K-9 deputy Logan Fox “was shot and died at the scene.” His partner, Sgt. Chris Ward, “died from his gunshot wounds after he was taken to Johnson City (Tennessee) Medical Center.”
County Sheriff Len Hagaman spoke to media briefly on Thursday to fill them in on how the standoff happened. “We heard on the radio,” he relates. Dispatch sent them out for a “welfare check on the parents, the mother and this stepfather.” When they got there, calls quickly came in “saying ‘officer down!’ and everybody went boom.” Sargent Ward “was married and had kids while deputy Fox had a fiancée.”
A third officer at the scene from the Boone Police Department “stepped in to help when a bullet hit his helmet.” That helmet “likely saved his life, as well as a shield that deflected another bullet.” That’s when they called in two medical helicopters and Ward was flown out for treatment.
Sheriff Hagaman is convinced the suspect “was planning to do something violent in nature.” The ambush and standoff weren’t planned as the main event. They knew the deceased and don’t think he was “particularly targeting officers but possibly the public in general.” The officers simply had no clue he might be in the home. Officers, the Sheriff says, “thought they were going into one situation and instead, the suspect was there.”
He was at the house
The first thing they teach in cop school is “expect the unexpected” but Sheriff Hagaman is a practical man. “He was at the house, which we didn’t think he would be,” the sheriff said. They also “had some encounters with this suspect before.”
In fact they got a call about him this past Sunday. “There was familiar concern that he might try to do something.” Gee, you don’t say. The Sheriff notes “the suspect had a fairly large arsenal of weapons.” He just never expected them to be used for a standoff.
He obviously had enough firepower and ammunition to remain “barricaded inside the home during the hours-long standoff, while periodically shooting in the direction of officers.” All the cops stood around collecting hazardous duty pay as the afternoon dragged on to evening.
The occasional exchange of gunfire told them he was still alive and had supplies. He also had the bodies of two victims to keep him company. The individual suspected of killing the two officers is also suspected of killing two civilians in the residence,” deputies report but aren’t releasing names yet.
SWAT teams from across the state later came to assist in the standoff. They put their heads together and prayed for a steady aim, nearby residents were evacuated, then they marched right in and ended the incident once and for all. None of the SWAT team was injured but the suspect came out under a sheet.
“This is an incredibly tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved as well as their families and our community,” Sheriff Hagaman consoles. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”