5 dead, including 2 deputies, suspect, suspect’s parents in Watauga County after standoff

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WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. — Five people are dead in the wake of a standoff in Watauga County.

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Thursday morning that five people were killed, including two deputies. They have been identified as Sgt. Chris Ward and Deputy Logan Fox of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect was also killed. As were the suspect’s two parents. The names of the family are not being released at this time.

The update comes as investigators work to piece together what led to the deadly standoff.

Watauga County Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox were responding to the home off Hardaman Circle for a welfare check. They were trying to find someone who didn’t show up for work on Wednesday.

Both were shot when they entered the home.

The suspect had reportedly been shooting at law enforcement into the night.

Law enforcement officials said the suspect is dead.

They later confirmed that the suspect’s parents were also killed.

It is unclear how the suspect or the suspect’s parents died.

Thursday morning, the Sgt. Ward’s second cousin Donna Ward paid her respects at a growing memorial of candles and flowers. She says they come from a law enforcement family, and this loss is devastating.

“Just heartbreak,” she said. “I told her I pray for them each and every day. I’m on my knees each and every day praying for these people. I pray for everybody, but these officers, they have a tough job. I mean they’re out here to serve and protect and people just don’t get it, they don’t,”

The news of Sgt. Ward’s death broke Wednesday night, sparking an outpouring of condolences from other local law enforcement agencies.

Thursday morning, before news broke that Fox had also died, Lexington police tweeted out, “Our hearts go out to the Watauga County Sheriffs Department this morning as they deal with the tragic death Sgt. Chris Ward. ‘Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down their life for their friends'”

And the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office tweeted, “Our hearts are heavy for the Watauga Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Ward’s family, and all involved in the deadly standoff in Boone, NC yesterday. Our thoughts and prayer are with you.”

Winston-Salem police joined a law enforcement caravan, bringing Ward’s body to Wake Forest Baptist Health early Thursday morning.

Late Thursday morning, once the news broke that both Ward and Fox had died, Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted, “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. These horrific shootings that claimed lives and loved ones show the ever-present danger law enforcement can encounter in the line of duty. I have talked with Sheriff Len Hagaman to offer condolences and additional assistance.”

Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson said, “I’m heartbroken to learn of the tragic deaths of Watauga County Sgt. Chris Ward and Deputy Logan Fox. These law enforcement officers gave their lives while in the line of duty, honoring their commitment to serve and protect our community. I send my deepest condolences to these officers’ family and friends, as well as the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. I stand in support of our state’s entire law enforcement community and thank each of these men and women who risk their lives each day to make sure all North Carolinians are safe. We share a common commitment to safety, both in the workplace and in the community.”

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