Forest Service officer killed in the line of duty

19 mar Forest Service officer killed in the line of duty


MORGANTON — Authorities said a U.S. Forest Service officer and his service dog were shot and killed as they attempted to apprehend a man suspected of killing his parents.

Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said the assailant, Troy David Whisnant, 38, was shot and killed Wednesday after a manhunt north of Morganton.

Forest Service officer Jason Crisp, 39, of Marion, was shot around 2:30 p.m. during the manhunt that involved more than 100 local, state and federal officers. Whisenant said Crisp had been ambushed, his police dog killed and his .45-caliber pistol and magazine were stolen.

About two hours later, officers found Whisnant in some woods and he was shot by officers after he had fired at them, the sheriff said.

Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday he was traveling to Burke County to spend time with Crisp’s wife and the first responders involved in the incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims of yesterday’s tragic events in Burke County, especially U.S. Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp and his service dog,” McCrory said in a statement.

“I also want to thank our first responders and law enforcement officers for their courage and valor in responding to these devastating events.”

Steve Ruppert, special agent in charge with the Forest Service, said the agency is mourning the “tragic loss.”

Crisp began his career as a timber marker on the Grandfather Ranger District and graduated from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in 2005, said Liz Agpaoa, regional forester with the agency.

“Jason took great pride in his work on the grandfather,” Agpaoa said. “He was a very kind and understanding man who could light up a room with his sense of humor. He will be missed by all who knew him and had the fortune to work with him.”

The sheriff said deputies had been asked by co-workers to check on a couple because the woman had not been at work since March 7. Deputies found the bodies of Levi and Rhonda Whisnant. Investigators think the couple had been killed earlier.