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Enumclaw officer assisted after shooting, during Mount Rainier manhunt
As tragic events unfolded Jan. 1 on the south side of Mount Rainier, the Enumclaw Police Department joined the long list of regional agencies quickly lending a hand.
As soon as local dispatchers heard that Park Ranger Margaret Anderson had been shot and killed – and that a gunman had fled the scene and was at large – the Enumclaw chain of command quickly was followed.
"We have a mutual aid agreement with most police departments and sheriff's offices in the state," said Lt. Bob Heubler of the Enumclaw Police Department, and that list includes the National Park Service.
When news broke of the shooting near the Paradise entrance to the park, the EPD's on-duty supervisor, Sgt. Jon Buss, notified both Heubler and Chief Jim Zoll. Officer Don Banner, who was slated to start a shift at 2 p.m. was called, asked to report to Paradise instead.Banner headed to the mountain, Heubler said, where he was charged with directing inbound police units to the command center and escorting people to the nearby Paradise Visitor Center.
Once Pierce County had all its personnel in place, Banner was no longer needed and by late afternoon was heading to Enumclaw to finish his regular shift, Heubler said.
The intensive search came to an end the following day, Jan. 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 National Park Service Western Incident Management Team is assisting the park with planning a memorial service for Anderson and with ongoing park needs.
Heubler said the Enumclaw Police Department will likely be represented at Anderson's memorial.