Of the five killed at the North Carolina standoffs, friends mourning South Mech Highgrad. “A man’s jewel.”


George Rigong, a graduate of South Mecklenberg High School who killed his wife and two deputy sheriffs near Boone, was the “best boss” and “best friend ever.”

According to the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, the alleged shooter was his son-in-law, the son of his wife Michelle. Michelle Rigong was 61 years old and her husband was 58 years old.

George Rigong and his wife Michelle, who graduated from South Mecklenburg High School, include two Watauga County Sheriffs among the five killed in a shooting near Boone.

George Ligon and his wife Michelle, who graduated from South Mecklenberg High School, include two deputy Watauga County Sheriffs among the five killed in a shooting near Boone.

K-9 Deputy Logan Fox and Sgt. Sheriff investigators also said Chris Ward was killed during a 13-hour standoff that ended late Wednesday. Archer, 32-year-old Isaac Alton Burns, died on the scene.

Condolences were poured on Facebook for agents and couples, including George Ligon’s classmates and later for him in Boone, and for those who worked with him.

According to a friend, he attended Lees-McRay University in Banner Elk, then transferred to Appalachian State University in Boone, where he was promoted to branch manager in the Boone region during his long career at the pest control company Terminix.

“The tragedy struck our own family from the 1980 class,” the South Mecklenberg High School Alumni Association posted, urging everyone to pray for the families of the victims. “I miss George.”

Always made you laugh

My classmates and colleagues remembered a man who always smiled and enjoyed being around.

“George knew how to smile on everyone’s face,” posted South Mech High School classmate David Isen Hour.

In an interview with The Charlotte Observer on Friday, Isen Hour said Ligon was “a versatile good man.”

Isenhour, now the owner-broker of Isenhour Properties in Concord, remembers how Ligon makes Isenhour’s mother laugh when she takes her to the Charlottens dance group at Charlotte’s Gross School of Dance.

“He was fun,” Isenhour said. “He enjoyed being around people. His family was. Only one of them. Friendly. Just enjoyed life.”

‘My heart sank’

My Facebook friends remembered having fun hanging around Rigong.

Boone’s Kevin Hermeyer remembered laughing every time he met Rigong at a local Food Lion. Rigon was very interesting.

“George was an absolutely wonderful person and was the best friend you’ve ever had,” Hermeier posted.

“My heart sank,” Mandel told observer news partner WBTV when Amber Mandel heard the news.

Rigong was like her second father, said Mandel, who worked for Rigong for eight years.

“They weren’t worth it, no one was worth it,” she said. “I don’t know why. Only God knows why.”

Boon’s Thomas South, who worked for Terminix’s Rigong for five and a half years, posted that he was dead and traumatized.

“Friend, rest on the mountain until we meet RIP again,” South posted on Facebook in Rigong.

It was a very long and difficult day to know what was happening yesterday, but on the other hand you …

Contributor Thomas South on Thursday, April 29, 2021

‘One and only’

Jeremy Dawson told observers on Friday that he and Rigong “soon defeated it” when Dawson joined Terminix.

“When you met him, you didn’t like him,” Dawson said. “He made it impossible. He smiled big and just had a big laugh that was contagious, and we hit it right away.”

According to Dawson, Rigong also coached him when he decided to start Midstate Wildlife Solutions in Asheboro.

“He’s just one,” Dawson said. “He was just one of these people you encountered once in a lifetime … it’s a terrible loss to the community. He deserves people to know what man’s jewel he was.”

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