Shooting kills Watauga County deputy, second person
Kellen Moore / (email@example.com)
Deputy William Mast Jr., 23, and Mitchell Allen Trivette, 33, were identified as the victims, according to Hagaman and SBI Spokeswoman Jennifer Canada.
While responding to the call around 1 a.m., a suspect opened fire, wounding one deputy, Hagaman said. The other deputy present, identified by Canada as Deputy Preston Russell, immediately returned fire and struck the suspect.
"It is a sad day for Watauga County Sheriff's Office and the Watauga County community, as Officer Mast was a friend and asset to our force and to his community," Hagaman said in an email.
Mast was hired by the Watauga County Sheriff's Office on July 1, 2009, according to county personnel records. He is survived by his wife, Paige Mast, who is expecting a child, and other family in the area.
County Manager Deron Geouque expressed his sympathy in a posting on the Watauga County website.
"Today is a sad day for Watauga County in that we have lost a member of our family," Geouque wrote. " ... Words cannot adequately portray how deeply saddened the county, the community and the Mast family are over this tremendous loss. Please keep the Mast family in your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time as they mourn the loss of William."
Flags flew at half-staff Thursday afternoon as the community learned of the deputy's death.
U.S. Rep Virginia Foxx also released a statement on Mast's death.
"My heart breaks for the family and friends of Watauga County Sheriff's Deputy William Ronald Mast Jr., who gave his life in the line of duty early this morning," Foxx said.
"In his 23 short years, Deputy Mast made an imprint on Boone, and I know the thoughts and prayers of thousands are with his wife, Paige, their unborn child, his parents and the entire Watauga County Sheriff's Office today. May they be comforted and find peace in the midst of this tragedy."
"In this time of grief, we remember that the safety we experience in our communities is maintained, in part, because people like Deputy Mast volunteer to place themselves in harm's way for our protection. For that caliber of service and sacrifice, we are grateful," Foxx said.
Hagaman said Thursday morning that he could not provide any further information and directed all questions to the State Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the incident.
Canada, the SBI spokeswoman, did not provide any other information about the incident.
Traffic along Hardin Road was diverted for most of the morning, and the road reopened Thursday afternoon.