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Deputies With Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Respond To Armed Standoff Early Thursday in Triplett

By Jesse Wood

Jan. 8, 2015. In the middle of the night in subzero temperatures, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office responded to an armed domestic situation where shots were fired in Triplett, according to Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman.

Hagaman said the male in his 20’s was armed and the conflict involved his parents.

What ensued was a standoff at 487 Wes Randall Road off of Elk Creek Road beginning at 1 a.m. early Thursday and lasting nearly two and half hours. The Special Response Team with the sheriff’s office was activated.

The standoff ended when the son eventually handed over his rifle and handgun at 3:24 a.m.

According to an incident report, deputies arrived on the scene, which was located at the suspect’s grandparent’s residence. The father, who was able to flee the scene, told law enforcement that his son was being abusive to his wife and had come on the porch and fired a shot in the air with a hunting rifle.

The mother was also able to flee the residence to the safety of the responding deputies. The mother told deputies that her son stated that he would kill any encroaching law enforcement officers.

One of the deputies was familiar with the suspect and began to speak with him. The suspect continually told the deputy that he was going to run in the woods and kill himself. At one point, the deputy thought he heard the sound of the suspect chambering a round in the gun. After speaking with the deputy for more than two hours, he agreed to disarm and leave with law enforcement officers.

The suspect was taken into protective custody and transported to the hospital. The incident report noted that the deputies assisted hospital police after he became combative when a doctor ordered a shot of medication to calm the suspect. Later, the parents went to the Magistrate’s Office and a restraining order was issued.

Hagaman said no one was hurt and gave “kudos” to agencies from Boone, Blowing Rock, Seven Devils and ASU Police for answering county calls during the situation.

In addition, firefighters with the Stewart Simmons Volunteer Fire Department withstood the arctic temps the entire time, and Watauga Medics and Watauga Rescue also showed up to lend a hand.

Hagaman said he didn’t know what set the man off. He didn’t release the names of those involved and HIPAA regulations were cited for the redaction of the suspect’s name in the incident report.

“Investigation is being conducted for any charges, if any,” Hagaman said.