Sergeant Chris Ward was identified as the North Carolina sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed during a standoff in Boone on April 28, 2021, while a second injured deputy was trapped inside the home and died at the scene.
Senator Thom Tillis wrote on Twitter, “Susan and I are heartbroken Sgt. Chris Ward with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office was killed in the line of duty. We are praying for his family, the officer wounded, and the community they served. A tragic reminder of the dangers our law enforcement officers face every day.”
Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox were shot after entering the home on Hardaman Circle during a welfare check on Wednesday morning, April 28, according to WSOC-TV. Police were dispatched to the home after the homeowner’s employer reported that the homeowner, George Ligon, “didn’t report to work or answer telephone calls,” the outlet reported.
Other officers pulled the injured Ward from the home and he was transported to a hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee, where he died, according to WSOC-TV.
Police said Fox remained trapped inside the house and died there during the 13-hour standoff before the suspect, Isaac Alton Barnes, died by suicide, WSOC-TV reported.
Barnes also killed Ligon, his stepfather, and his mother, Michelle Ligon, WSOC-TV reported.
Tributes flowed on social media for Ward, a married father, and for Fox.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Watauga County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Chris Ward and Deputy Logan Fox," the Albemarle Police Department posted after two deputies were shot in a deadly standoff in Watauga County https://t.co/nQdziu6r2z pic.twitter.com/BljQaQDf4v
— WBTV News (@WBTV_News) April 29, 2021
Here’s what you need to know:
A Police Escort Unfolded in Ward’s Honor
Police officers from multiple departments escorted Ward’s body from Johnson City Medical Center in Tennessee back to Boone, North Carolina, WCYB reported.
“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 to WSOC. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”
Church parking lot, near where reporters are being asked to stay, is full of law enforcement.
We were just told by a Blowing Rock police officer family members of members of law enforcement are also parked down here.
— WXII Lee Anne Denyer (@WXIILeeAnne) April 28, 2021
Journalist Cody Alcorn wrote on Facebook on the evening of April 28, “As a stand-off continues in Boone, North Carolina, the Watauga County Sheriff confirms Sergeant Chris Ward died after being flown to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment. K-9 Deputy Logan Fox remains on the scene and his condition is unknown at this hour. The Sheriff didn’t have any update on who’s in the home or their conditions. It’s still an ongoing situation and the gunman continues to fire shots.”
Alcorn added, “Just from my experience reporting on these type of situations, it appears Deputy Fox is possibly still in the home and his colleagues were unable to get him out when they were able to get Sergeant Ward pulled away from the gun fire. It’s an awful situation. It’s also unclear if the gunman’s family is still alive or if they have been shot too.”
Law enforcement agencies around the country offered tributes and condolences. The Washington County Virginia Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office tonight. One deputy, Sergeant Chris Ward has been killed and a second deputy, K-9 Logan Fox is still trapped and condition unknown. The situation is ongoing at this time. We extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families, the community, and the Sheriff’s Office who will carry this tragic loss forever.”
People Remembered Ward as a ‘Great Man’
People wrote tributes to Ward on social media.
“He was such a great man. We will never forget…” wrote one. “Broken… he was a great police officer,” wrote another.
Ward’s second cousin Donna Ward told WJHL they “come from a law enforcement family.”
“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.”
Ward’s Facebook page said he was married, studied at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, went to Watauga High and was from Sugar Grove, North Carolina. He and his wife have children, according to his Facebook page.
He shared photos with the filter “a blue family” and tributes to other fallen officers. “#hislifemattered” read the caption on a photo of one fallen officer superimposed on the thin blue line flag. He posted tributes honoring William Mast, a deputy who was shot and killed while responding to a call in 2012:
That tribute was Ward’s cover photo on Facebook.
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