What we know about about the victims in the Boone standoff and shooting

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Saturday, May 1, 2021
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The sheriff identified the suspect as 32-year-old Isaac Alton Barnes. Sheriff Hagaman said deputies had been warned about Barnes in the past.

BOONE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Five people are dead after a day-long standoff at a Boone home -- including two North Carolina deputies, the suspect, and his mother and stepfather.

The Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman identified their own losses as Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox. He said they were ambushed while responding to a welfare check on someone who didn't show up for work.

The sheriff identified the suspect as 32-year-old Isaac Alton Barnes. Sheriff Hagaman said deputies had been warned about Barnes in the past.

He is suspected of killing his 61-year-old mother and 58-year-old stepfather. Barnes is believed to have died by suicide.

Hagaman believes law enforcement stopped an even larger attack to the community saying that investigators found "a lot" of guns.

Here is what we know about the victims:

Sgt. Chris Ward

Sgt. Chris Ward
Courtesy of the Watauga County Sheriff's Department

Sgt. Chris Ward was airlifted to a Tennessee hospital after he was removed from the home. He was later pronounced dead.

The 8-year veteran leaves behind his high school sweetheart he married and two children, ages 19 and 5. A cousin of Ward told WSOC that he would lay down his life for his loved ones.

Ward first started working in law enforcement at the Beech Mountain Police Department in 2013, later moving to the Watauga County Sheriff's Office where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Donna Ward, a relative of Chris, told WSOC that the family is devastated.

"It's hard. I know God's got another angel," Donna Ward said. "A very loving family, loving. He would do anything for you."

K-9 Deputy Logan Fox

K-9 Deputy Logan Fox
Courtesy of the Watauga County Sheriff's Office

K-9 Deputy Logan Fox was shot and trapped inside the home during the 13-hour standoff. He died at the scene.

The two-year veteran of the Watauga County Sheriff's Office was engaged and set to be married soon. He also handled a county K-9 named Raven.

Hagaman said both Ward and Fox were part of a tight-knit family that loved law enforcement.

Michelle and George Ligon

Michelle Annette Ligon, 61, was the mother of Barnes. According to her employer, Explore Boone, Michelle spent 20 years working in marketing for the greater Boone area.

"Michelle wrote and inspired many national and regional stories about Boone and the High Country," an Explore Boone spokesperson wrote. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michelle's family, friends and tourism colleagues."

"She just made you feel good. And so, she was just the perfect person to promote Boone," Greta Lint, the former executive director of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, told WSOC.

"The girl that I knew loved life, and she loves to have fun. She loved people," she added. "I hope that they will remember her as someone who, at first, you would think would be the flower on the wall. But then you find out that no, she's not. She's the life of the party."

58-year-old George Ligon was identified as the stepfather of Barnes and the husband of Michelle.

"It was definitely a shock because he was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back," David Byrd, who described George Ligon as his closest friend, told WSOC. "I knew George better than Michelle, but both of them were fantastic people. It's definitely a loss to everybody in the community, and it has just devastated the whole family in so many ways."

Byrd said he met his friend through work decades ago. They both worked in the pest control industry.

"George was a very devoted and loving husband," he said. "He would have done anything in the world for her."