An hours-long standoff leaves five dead, including two sheriff’s deputies

An hours-long standoff leaves five dead, including two sheriff's deputies
People gather near a home in Watauga County, North Carolina, where two deputies were killed.
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Daily US Times: Authorities in North Carolina said that five people are dead, including two sheriff’s deputies, after a check on a person who did not show up for work ended in gunfire and a 13-hour standoff.

Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman told reporters Thursday that the sheriff’s deputies were ambushed and fatally wounded heading down to the basement of the home.

On Sunday, the sheriff’s office had been alerted that the suspect who killed the deputies as well as his mother and stepfather before taking his own life “might be a problem,” according to Hagaman.

Sgt. Chris Ward died after being flown to a local hospital and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox died at the scene in the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Boone, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

The suspect was identified as 32-year-old Alton Barnes, who authorities said also killed the residents of the home — Michelle Annette Ligon and George Wyatt Ligon.

Hagaman said “concerned folks” who knew the suspect had alerted the sheriff’s office but deputies did not “encounter him where we thought he would be.”

The sheriff said that the deputies on Wednesday did not think the suspect was home.

Hagaman said that the deputies had looked for the suspect over the weekend to try to “get him away from someplace so we could have some more control over him.”

On Wednesday, the deputies were responding to a call for a wellness check after the homeowner’s employer reported that the person did not show up for work and was not answering their phone, according to the statement.

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