Forest Service Officer killed by murder suspect

Published 11:11 am Friday, March 14, 2014

BURKE COUNTY, NC –  At approximately 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 12, State Highway Patrol troopers, Alcohol Law Enforcement agents, correction officers, and dozens of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers converged on Fish Hatchery Road in Burke County after learning that U.S. Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp was shot when he confronted a wanted murder suspect.

The suspect, identified as Troy Whisnant, 38, was on the run after allegedly killing his father and step-mother, Levi and Rhonda Whisnant.

Earlier in the day, law enforcement officials determined that Whisnant was involved in a hit and run accident at a private residence and later stole a wrecker.  The suspect eventually abandoned the wrecker and attempted to break into a nearby shed.  A short time later, the homeowner dialed 911 after observing the suspect run from the shed into a heavily wooded area nearby.  As a result, Officer Crisp and his canine, Maros, were called to assist in tracking and locating the suspect.

During the search, Officer Crisp and his canine came upon the suspect, and the suspect shot both of them.  The suspect then stole Officer Crisp’s service weapon and fled deeper into the woods.

An Avery County Sheriff’s deputy and troopers assigned to Burke County, who were near the shooting, came to the aid of the fallen federal officer and immediately attempted to perform life-saving measures.  Sadly, Officer Crisp and Maros succumbed to their injuries.

Sheriffs’ deputies, troopers, agents, and correction officers continued to pursue the suspect and eventually encountered him along a stretch of roadway.  Upon making contact, two troopers and an Avery County deputy ordered the suspect to lie down on the ground.  The suspect refused to comply and instead pointed a firearm at them. The deputy and troopers returned fire, fatally wounding the suspect.

Both troopers and two ALE agents have been placed on Administrative Duty, which is standard operating procedure, as the State Bureau of Investigation completes an investigation of the shooting incident.  The names of the troopers and agents are being withheld at this time but will be released in the near future.

After being briefed on the situation, Governor Pat McCrory expressed his deep sadness at the loss of life and his appreciation of the bravery of North Carolina’s law enforcement officers.

“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. I also want to thank our first responders and law enforcement officers for their courage and valor in responding to these devastating events. Ann and I will continue to pray for the victims and their families as they deal with this horrible situation,” McCrory said.