Ranger Fatally Shot at Mount Rainier
January 1, 2012 · Updated 11:40 PM
Editor's note: the following is a press release issued Sunday evening by Mount Rainier National Park staff. Media reports indicate the suspect is 24-year-old Benjamin Colton Barnes, also wanted in a Sunday morning shooting in the Seattle suburb of Skyway. The Rainier incident is on the south side of the mountain, not the side accessed by Enumclaw or state Route 410. There is an Enumclaw connection, as city police officers have reportedly assisted with the manhunt.
This morning an armed assailant shot and killed Ranger Margaret Anderson on the road to
Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. The assailant is still at large and a manhunt is
underway. The incident began when a car failed to stop at a required tire chain checkpoint.
A ranger tried to pull the car over and when it failed to stop, park ranger Margaret Anderson
established a road block with her vehicle. The assailant jumped from his car and opened fire
with a shotgun, fatally wounding Ranger Anderson. The assailant then fled on foot into the
woods. Park Rangers and law enforcement officers from various agencies responded . The
Pierce County SWAT team arrived on scene and they, too, were fired upon while rendering aid
to Ranger Anderson.
Law enforcement officers closed the park road, evacuated park visitors from Longmire, and
locked down Paradise, with all visitors in the area taking refuge in the Jackson Visitor Center.
There are 125 park visitors and 17 park staff in the visitor center at this time. The visitor center
has a restaurant to provide food, restrooms, and water, and law enforcement officers are on hand
to provide protection.
The search for the murderer continues into the night, with fixed wing aircraft using forward
looking infrared to scan the ground. There are a more than 100 officers from a variety of
agencies assisting with the manhunt for the shooter, including National Park Service, Pierce
County Sheriff, FBI, Washington State Patrol, US Forest Service, City of Enumclaw, and Lewis
Mount Rainier National Park will remain closed tomorrow.
Ranger Margaret Anderson, 34 years old, served at Mount Rainier for four years. She is
survived by her husband, also a park ranger at Mount Rainier, and two young children.