News

Mount Rainier National Park to reopen

Editor's note: the following is a press release issued by the National Park Service

 

Mount Rainier National Park is reopening to the public on Saturday, January

7, following the tragic fatal shooting of Park Ranger Margaret Anderson.

The park family is using the time to begin the recovery process in the

aftermath of the horrific events leading up to and following the loss of

Ranger Anderson. All services with the exception of snow play will be

available this weekend.



Plans for a memorial service next week are underway with the date to be

determined. The family is requesting donations to the Margaret Anderson

Fund at Key Bank in lieu of flowers.



On the morning of January 1 Park Ranger Margaret Anderson set up a traffic

block to intercept a vehicle that failed to stop at a chain-up checkpoint.

The driver opened fire on Ranger Anderson, killing her, and then fled on

foot into the woods.  Margaret Anderson, 34, worked at Mount Rainier for 3

years.  She is survived by her husband Eric, also a ranger in the park, and

two young children.



Mount Rainier National Park closed during the hunt for the gunman, with the

park evacuating park visitors to get them out of potential danger.  There

were 125 visitors in lock down at the Paradise Visitor Center from Sunday

noon until 3:30 a.m. Monday.  They were escorted out of the park in small

groups of five vehicles, escorted by law enforcement officers. There were

also 25 visitors at the National Park Inn at Longmire who were evacuated

out of the park.  Visitors had been held at these locations for their own

safety.



The intensive search came to an end on Monday, January 2. An aircraft

spotted a body lying face down in the vicinity of Narada Falls. Searchers

on the ground traversed challenging terrain to reach the subject and

confirmed his identity as Benjamin Colton Barnes, the suspect in the

shooting. Officials confirm that Barnes was found dead.



An investigation into the incident is being led by the Federal Bureau of

Investigation with Park Rangers and Pierce County Sheriff’s Department

assisting. The NPS Western Incident Management Team is assisting the park

with planning a memorial service for Ranger Anderson and with ongoing park

needs.



Approximately 250 personnel were involved in search operations. Agencies

participating in the search effort include Pierce County Sheriff’s

Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tacoma Police Department,

Washington State Patrol, Customs & Border Patrol, Department of Homeland

Security, U.S. Forest Service, Pierce County Fire Districts, Lewis County

Sheriff’s Department, Enumclaw PD, Portland PD, Seattle PD, Snohomish PD,

National Park Service rangers, and law enforcement officers from other

jurisdictions as well. Resources included K-9 Units, armored vehicles,

helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

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