Photo shows ballistic helmet saved responding officer’s life in Watauga County standoff, suspect identified

Nation and World News

WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect who shot and killed two deputies, and his mother and step-father inside a Boone home.

Deputies said Isaac Alton Barnes, 32, is 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 step-son of the deceased couple, died at the scene.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Barnes also shot and killed K-9 Deputy Logan Fox and Sgt. Chris Ward. The ordeal began at 9:44 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, when the two law enforcement officials 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 home after discovering all vehicles belonging to the residents were on the property. Upon entering the residence, the two Watauga County Sheriff’s deputies received gunshot wounds from an unknown person inside.

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

Watauga County deputies’ background

Deputy Logan Fox, 25, 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.” Prior to working at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office as a full-time deputy, he served as a 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, was 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. 

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, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“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.”




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.

The standoff between law enforcement and Barnes ended shortly before 11 p.m. on April 28.

Law enforcement who assisted in this incident

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 remains ongoing and is being led by the NC State Bureau of Investigation.

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