Park Ranger Killed
January 2, 2012 by staff
Park Ranger Killed, A suspect, named by police as 24-year-old Benjamin Colton Barnes, is also wanted in connection with the shooting of four people at a house party in Seattle. Mount Rainier National Park ranger Margaret Anderson was shot following a New Year’s Day traffic stop and authorities believe the gunman is still in the woods, armed with weapons.
Barnes is an Iraq war veteran with survivalist skills and police say he is a “strong person of interest”.
Around 125 people were kept safely inside a visitor’s centre on Sunday night as officers followed tracks they believed were from the gunman.
The park receives around two millions visitors a year
Park spokesman Kevin Bacher said the gunman had sped past a checkpoint used to assess the tires of visitors at around 10.20am, Sunday.
One ranger began following him while Ms Anderson eventually blocked the road to stop the driver.
Before fleeing, the gunman fired shots at both of the rangers that trailed him, but only Ms Anderson, a 34-year-old mother of two, was hit.
“We do not know what resources the shooter has. We’re not sure what we’re up against,” Mr Bacher said. “We know that he has a weapon, but we don’t know how many.”
About 150 officers, including officials from the Washington State Patrol, US Forest Service and FBI, are on the mountain.
Sergeant Cindi West, King County Sheriff’s spokesperson, said Barnes was connected to an early-morning shooting at a New Year’s house party in Skyway, Washington, south of Seattle that left four people injured, two critically.
It has been legal for people to take loaded firearms into Mount Rainier since 2010, when a controversial federal law went into effect that made possession of firearms in national parks subject to state gun laws.
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