5 dead, including 2 deputies, after 13-hour standoff in North Carolina

WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. — Five people, including two Watauga County sheriff’s deputies, are dead Thursday following a 13-hour standoff in North Carolina, according to WSOC-TV.

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Deputies said Sgt. Chris Ward died at a hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee, after he was shot while responding around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday to a report that a homeowner and his family had not reported to work and would not answer telephone calls, the news station reported. Authorities identified the other slain official as K-9 Deputy Logan Fox, who was shot and died at the scene of the hourslong standoff, WSOC reported.

The person suspected of firing on the deputies, his mother and his stepfather also died, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman said. The gunman’s name was not immediately released.

Deputies entered the house on Hardaman Circle on Wednesday morning to conduct a welfare check. After they were met by gunfire, the shooter barricaded himself in a section of the house and the standoff began. Authorities told WSOC the shooter periodically fired in the direction of officers over the course of the standoff, which ended around 11 p.m. Wednesday.

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“This is an incredibly tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved as well as their families and our community,” Hagaman said, according to WSOC. “I greatly appreciate the tremendous support we are receiving from law enforcement agencies across the region and the state.”

The sheriff told WSOC that a Boone police officer, a Boone firefighter and an App State Police officer were fired upon while trying to rescue the injured deputies from the home on Wednesday. The Boone officer was struck by gunfire, but the bullet hit his Kevlar helmet, so he wasn’t injured. Officials were unable to recover Fox before the standoff ensued.

Hagaman said deputies had visited the home where the standoff took place over the weekend, although it was not immediately clear why.

Authorities continue to investigate.