Snow covered Mount Rainier National Park was closed & evacuated on Monday following the shooting death of 34-year old park ranger Margaret Anderson on Sunday. Police evacuated the park in order to find the man who shot the park ranger. At 10:20am on Sunday, a park ranger (not Margaret) attempted to pull over a car after it failed to stop at a tire chain checkpoint. When the car failed to pull over, Margaret used her vehicle to block the road. Once blocked, the assailant jumped out of his car and opened fire on Margaret and the other ranger with a shotgun. Margaret was fatally wounded before she was able to leave her car. Man Shoots Mt. Rainier Park Ranger Then Found Dead | Manhunt Causes Mt. Rainier Nat’l Park to be Closed & Evacuated Monday | Unofficial Networks

Man Shoots Mt. Rainier Park Ranger Then Found Dead | Manhunt Causes Mt. Rainier Nat’l Park to be Closed & Evacuated Monday

Man Shoots Mt. Rainier Park Ranger Then Found Dead | Manhunt Causes Mt. Rainier Nat’l Park to be Closed & Evacuated Monday

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Man Shoots Mt. Rainier Park Ranger Then Found Dead | Manhunt Causes Mt. Rainier Nat’l Park to be Closed & Evacuated Monday

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Mount Rainier. photo: Bob Sh’mal Ellenberg

Snow covered Mount Rainier National Park was closed & evacuated on Monday following the shooting death of 34-year old park ranger Margaret Anderson on Sunday.  Police evacuated the park in order to find the man who shot the park ranger.

At 10:20am on Sunday, a park ranger (not Margaret) attempted to pull over a car after it failed to stop at a tire chain checkpoint.  When the car failed to pull over, Margaret used her vehicle to block the road.  Once blocked, the assailant jumped out of his car and opened fire on Margaret and the other ranger with a shotgun.  Margaret was fatally wounded before she was able to leave her car.

Margaret Anderson

“The assailant jumped from his car and opened fire with a shotgun,” – Lee Taylor, park service spokesperson

The gunman fled the scene on foot and used waterways to hide his tracks (the ground was covered in 4-5 feet of snow) from his pursuers.  150 police chased the suspect using crampons, snowshoes, and a helicopter with infrared cameras.

One of the scariest scenarios in this tragic event was when about 125 park visitors in the Paradise area were quarantined overnight in the Paradise visitors center.  Officials ordered visitors to hurry into the building after the shooting occurred.  As the visitors entered the building, they were asked to get on their knees with their hands on their heads as everyone’s faces were examined by officials.   They were then evacuated early monday morning under the cover of darkness.

“That was scary for the kids.” – evacuee Dinh Jackson

The gunman was found dead, face down in the snow with part of his body in the Paradise river on monday.  Cause of death has not been released at this time but likely was exposure and hypothermia.  The body found is reported to be one Benjamin Colton Barnes.

benjamin colton barnes

benjamin colton barnes

Benjamin Colton Barnes:

– Iraq war veteran (2007-2008)

– Reported to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

– Suspect in early Sunday morning house party shooting of 4 people in nearby Skyway, WA (which he was likely fleeing from when the shooting occurred)

– Recent restraining order filed against him from his child’s mother

– In possession of survival skills

– 24-years old

“Barnes appeared to have had a troubled adjustment to civilian life. The Associated Press reported that Barnes was involved in a July, 2011 custody dispute during which the mother of his child sought a temporary restraining order alleging that he was suicidal and possibly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his deployment in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.”csmonitor.com

 

Rainier

More Details:

The gunman’s car had guns and body armor within it.

Margaret was married to another Mount Rainier park ranger and has two small children.

Margaret was the 8th park ranger to be shot and killed since 1927.

Mount Rainier is 14,411 feet tall, attracts 1.5-2 million visitors per year.  In 2010, 10,643 attempted to climb to Mount Rainier’s summit.  4,020 summited.

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