Five people, including two police officers, were killed in a 13-hour gun standoff in North Carolina, local officials said Thursday morning, NBC 29 reported.
At 9:45 a.m. EST Wednesday, Officer Chris Ward and Officer Logan Fox went to a home for an inspection, the Waterga County Sheriff’s Office said. Someone called the police and said that the owner and his family did not go to work that day, and the phone did not answer.
Police said shots were fired in the room, hitting the two officers, sparking a 13-hour standoff. During the standoff, law enforcement officers surrounded the house and nearby residents were evacuated.
The local sheriff’s office said another officer was shot during the initial rescue, but was uninjured because he was wearing protective gear. Ward is understood to have died after being taken to a medical centre. Fox died at the scene.
Three other people, including the suspected gunman, were found dead in the house after the standoff ended around midnight.
“The man suspected of killing two police officers is also suspected of killing two civilians in the house,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Police have not yet revealed the cause of death of the suspected gunman, but an official told a local media that he apparently committed suicide.
Although the names of the remaining victims have not been released, the sheriff’s office confirmed to NBC that the two dead were couples living in the house. The suspected gunman is the son of one of the victims and the stepchild of the other.
According to NBC, data from the Gun Violence Archive show that the number of mass shootings in the United States rose for the first time in April 2020 and has remained high ever since.
Between January 1 and April 26 this year, there were 160 shootings in the United States, compared with more than 90 in the same period in 2020. The total number of shootings this year is almost double the average for the same period since 2014.