Suspect identified in shooting that killed 4, including 2 deputies, in Watauga County


WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office has released the identity of the suspect in a shooting that killed four people, including two deputies.

Isaac Alton Barnes, 32, is suspected of killing K-9 Deputy Logan Fox, 25, Sgt. Chris Ward, 36, Michelle Annette Ligon, 61, and George Wyatt Ligon, 58.

Barnes, who was the son and stepson of Michelle and George Ligon, also died at the scene.

Ward was responding to a home off Hardaman Circle for a welfare check along with Fox at 9:44 a.m. Wednesday. They were trying to find someone who didn’t show up for work on Wednesday. Both were shot when they entered the home.

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 was uninjured.

A standoff ensued and the suspect had reportedly been shooting at law enforcement into the night, ending 13 hours later.

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

Fox was 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.”

Ward was an eight-year veteran in the field of law enforcement. He married his high school sweetheart and was a father of two, ages 19 and 5.

GoFundMe accounts have been set up for the families of Fox and Ward.

The investigation is ongoing.

The Boone and Watauga County Tourism Development Authorities, where Michelle Ligon worked as the director of public relations and social media, released the following statement on Thursday:

“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.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Must-See Stories

More Must-See Stories


Follow FOX8 on Twitter