The Burke County Sheriff's Office says new information shows a wanted murder suspect killed himself after fatally shooting a U.S. Forest Service Officer and his K9 partner during a manhunt in Burke County on Wednesday.
According to Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant, preliminary autopsy results show that 38-year-old Troy David Whisnant shot himself in the head when confronted by officers.
Whisnant was also struck by a bullet from one officer.
Whisnant shot and killed Officer Jason Crisp and K9 officer Maros during a manhunt after the bodies of Whisnant's parents were found in their home on Wednesday morning.
On Friday, Maros was cremated and returned to McDowell County with an escort from law enforcement. Maros will be buried with Officer Crisp in his casket during a funeral on Monday at 2 p.m.
A private visitation was held for Crisp on Sunday night in Marion, where he lived. A tribute and funeral was held on Monday afternoon at McDowell High School.
On Thursday afternoon, the hearse bearing the body of Jason Crisp was part of a long procession of local, state, and federal law enforcement vehicles that drove from Winston-Salem to Marion.
According to investigators, Whisnant was on the run after allegedly killing his father and step-mother, Levi and Ronda Whisnant. The couple was found inside a home along the 5500 block of Fish Hatchery Road.
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.
He abandoned the wrecker and attempted to break into a nearby shed. The homeowner dialed 911 after seeing Whisnant run from the shed into a heavily wooded area, investigators told WBTV.
When deputies went to Whisnant's home they found his parents, Ronda and Levi Whisnant, dead inside. There was also evidence of a struggle, and a missing vehicle, according to the sheriff's office.
Officials also said that friends had not heard from the couple since Friday, and they contacted the sheriff's office just before 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.
During the search, officials say Officer Jason Crisp and his K9 Officer, Maros, came across Whisnant, who shot and killed both officers.
Investigators say Whisnant stole Officer Crisp's service weapon and continued to run.
An Avery County Sheriff's deputy and troopers assigned to Burke County, who were near the shooting, attempted to save Officer Crisp's life, but were unable.
Whisnant was spotted along a stretch of roadway and ordered to the ground by two troopers and an Avery County deputy.
He refused and pointed a firearm at them, investigators say. The deputy and troopers returned fire.
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.
Records show that Whisnant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1996 and was sentenced to serve 25 to 39 months in prison.
He served a little more than two years behind bars, according to officials.
After Whisnant was released, records show he went back to a life of crime.
According to court documents, in 2010, Whisnant was charged with possession of stolen goods and property and financial card theft. He served time then was placed on probation.
Officials said Whisnant violated probation. In 2012, a Burke County judge ordered him to return to prison for a minimum of 11 months.
Furthermore, the judge recommended substance abuse treatment and psychiatric and/or psychological counseling.
The judge also stated that the "Defendant has a history of psychological/psychiatric problems. His assignment to a facility that can address these problems is strongly recommended."
Tragically, these recommendations fell on deaf ears.
And this week investigators say Whisnant's disregard for the law cost three people their lives.
"Please just let everyone know we are heartbroken," relatives of the couple told WBTV. "Ronda and Levi Whisnant are two of the most kind, loving,wonderful people God blessed us with on this earth."
Rhonda Whisnant worked as a nurse at Grace Heights Health and Rehabilitation Center in Morganton.
A friend and a co-worker said Rhonda "treated all of us there like family. Her husband and her had get togethers at their home for us and our children, Christmas parties and Easter egg hunts."
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," Governor McCrory said.
"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."
Officer Crisp leaves behind a wife and two children.
David Shelton, who lives in Morganton, said "I met him once or twice. He was a good guy. Big hearted. Loved his job. He was always nice to everybody he encountered. I hate that he's gone."
A Facebook page titled "Remembering Officer Jason Crisp & K9 Maros USFS EOW 3/12/14" was posted in Crisp's memory. You can visit it here.
McDowell County Sheriff Dudley Greene, a good friend of Crisp, described the officer as dedicated and committed.
"What a resource and a valuable asset to this community has been lost, as well as a dear friend, it hits close to home," Greene told WBTV. "As much as I didn't want to think about the outcome for Jason, it was not hard to imagine Jason and Maros being there, on site, hitting the woods to look for and trying to apprehend the individual, because that's what they did, and they did that well."
Melissa Smith is a friend to the Crisp family. She said Crisp would be greatly missed.
"Jason was a great dad and a wonderful husband, they're just wonderful people in this county, he loved his job," Smith told WBTV. "He was dedicated and committed to it, committed and dedicated to his family."
On Friday, Officer Crisp's family released the following statement:
Jason was a loving father, loving husband and a great friend. He was his wife's best friend and the love of her life. He loved the Lord and was an honest Christian man who gave his life protecting his friends. He loved doing his job with a passion. The only thing he loved more than his job was his family and friends. He died a hero. However, he was a hero well before. Maros was also our family member and he was loved like a child. Jason loved working with Maros. Thank you to all of the agencies for your hard work and thank you for all of the prayers, calls and visits from our family and friends.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the investigation.
Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard