NC Mountain Town Mourns Loss of Two Deputies

By Todd Sumlin   •   April 30, 2021

Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) are ministering in Boone, North Carolina, after two Watauga County sheriff's deputies were killed in the line of duty last week. Boone is about a two-hour drive northwest of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte.
On Wednesday, a gunman killed his mother and stepfather before shooting three officers in a 13-hour standoff. One officer survived the shooting, and the suspect is believed to have died by suicide. The community has since showered the sheriff's office with support. Many left bouquets, cards, balloons and other mementos as they paid their respects. Local restaurants sent meals. Alfredo Alvarez, owner of Los Acoiris, said he recognized the faces of the late officers as ones who have visited his restaurant before. “It’s very sad this is happening in our small community,” Alvarez said. “It’s really sad, and it really hurts.”
Edward Graham, Franklin Graham’s youngest son, visited with law enforcement officials on Thursday. “There’s no answer on earth that’s ever going to solve this problem, and that’s what I talked with the guys inside about, praying with them," Edward Graham said. "You don’t have the answers here, and if you try to keep it internal or try to rationalize it, it will eat you alive. I had to learn a long time ago you surrender it. You have to put it at the cross.”
>> Peace is possible. Learn more about God's love for you.
A long list of neighboring law enforcement agencies showed up to assist with Wednesday's deadly standoff. On Thursday, officers exchanged hugs and wiped their eyes in the aftermath of the heartbreaking day.
"It’s sort of mixed feelings about the deployment," shared David Rutledge, chaplain manager of BG-RRT's law enforcement ministry. Rutledge retired from the nearby Asheville (N.C.) Police Department. "I hate the reason that we have to be here. But I am grateful to be in the position that God allows us to minister to other officers."
Many have shared with chaplains that Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox were beloved members of this community. Some expressed it with homemade decals, while local businesses used their signs to show support. A theatre marquee on Boone's King Street read: "We pray for the peacemakers and send all our love."
K-9 Deputy Logan Fox's cruiser was parked near the memorial on Thursday. His K-9 Raven briefly visited. One local woman brought four pails of dog treats especially for Raven.
Matthew 5:9 declares, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman thanked the chaplains for being there to support the deputies and the community. Read more about how chaplains are ministering during this deployment.
Graham said he hopes local churches will minister to their law enforcement agencies. “That’s my prayer and my hope is that churches take lead in this and they take back their communities with law enforcement. Don’t surrender it to these loud voices, these angry voices that are full of sin, full of hate. Let’s have the church be up front.”
Please continue to pray for this grieving community.