Mount Rainier Ranger Murdered

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Mount Rainier Ranger Murdered

Postby Todd » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:38 am

Manhunt launched at Mount Rainier after park ranger killed

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:19 PM EST, Sun January 1, 2012

(CNN) -- Authorities scoured the national park around Washington's Mount Rainier on Sunday for a man they say fatally shot a park ranger and fled into the woods, a park spokeswoman said.

The suspect remained at large Sunday afternoon, believed to be somewhere in the expansive park, Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Lee Taylor said. At this time, no video surveillance is available and authorities do not have a description of the gunman.

"It began as just a normal traffic stop" around 10:30 a.m. PT (1:30 p.m. ET), Taylor explained to CNN. But the suspect didn't heed a request to pull over, prompting a ranger to radio ahead requesting assistance.

Park ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, responded to that call and set up her patrol vehicle as a roadblock.

"When he arrived at that spot, he got out (of his car) and fatally shot her," said Taylor.

The suspect, who is believed to be armed, then ran into the spacious national park, whose border is about 50 miles southeast of Seattle. The park -- the centerpiece being the 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, which is considered an active volcano -- comprises 235,625 acres in the Cascade Range.

Authorities have begun looking for the gunman, though the pending loss of daylight looms as a challenge in the search, Taylor said Sunday afternoon.

Entrances to the park were closed after the shooting, and 85 visitors were being held at the park's main visitor center "until we believe that it's safe for them to drive out of the park," the spokeswoman said.

Anderson was the mother of a 4-year-old and 1-year-old and the wife of a fellow park ranger, according to Taylor.

"It's a horrible tragedy (and) a terrible loss of life of someone who had dedicated herself to serving the public," she said.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/01/justice/w ... index.html
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"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
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Re: Mount Rainier Ranger Murdered

Postby Todd » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:42 am

Manhunt After Ranger Shot Dead in Mount Rainier National Park

Published January 01, 2012

FoxNews.com

Authorities are conducting a manhunt at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State after a park ranger died in a shooting Sunday following a routing traffic stop, authorities said.

Benjamin Colton Barnes, a 24-year-old believed to have military experience and survivalist skills, was a "strong person of interest" in the slaying of Margaret Anderson, authorities said, after recovering Barnes' vehicle, which had weapons and body armor inside,

Authorities believed the gunman was still in the woods with an assault rifle. They asked people to stay away from the park, and for those already inside to leave, but Ed Troyer, a Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman, said there were about 100 people hunkered down in lodges and cabins on the mountain. They were asked to stay put because they could be in the line of fire.

The killed ranger was identified as 34-year-old Margaret Anderson.

At around 10:20 a.m. Sunday, another park service employee had tried to stop a man in his vehicle. He didn't stop, so Anderson set up a road block with her vehicle in the middle of the road, said park spokeswoman Lee Taylor. The man pulled up to Anderson about 11 a.m., jumped out, fired and ran off, she said.

There were no witnesses to the shooting, but the shooter was identified as a male, Taylor told Fox News.

"We're searching for someone that does not want to be found," Taylor said. "And who has a weapon, and is willing to use it."

Troyer also said it appeared there were still visitors hiking on the mountain who could not be reached and were not aware of what was going on.

"We do have a very hot and dangerous situation," he said.

Troyer said when authorities arrived they were also shot at, but no one else was hit. About 150 officers were on the mountain, but they had not made contact with the gunman and did not know where he was, Troyer said.

Authorities said earlier that Anderson's body had been removed from the park, but Troyer said police have been unable to get to her.

Park superintendent Randy King said Anderson is a mother of two young daughters who had served as a park ranger for about four years. King said Anderson's husband also was working as a ranger elsewhere in the park at the time of the shooting.

"It's just a huge tragedy -- for the family, the park and the park service," he said.

Adam Norton, a neighbor of Anderson's in the small town of Eatonville, Washington, said the ranger's family moved in about a year ago. He said they were not around much, but when they were Norton would see Anderson outside with her girls.

"They just seemed like the perfect family," he said.

The town of about 3,000 residents, which is a logging community overlooking Mount Rainier, is very close knit, he said.

"It's really sad right now," Norton said. "We take care of each other."

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.

The shooting occurred on an unseasonably sunny and mild day. The park, which offers miles of wooded trails and spectacular vistas from which to see 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, draws between 1.5 million and 2 million visitors each year.

The Longmire station served as headquarters when the national park was established in 1899. Park headquarters have moved but the site still contains a museum, a hotel, restaurant and gift shop, which are open year-round.

The Washington State Patrol also was helping with the investigation.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/01/ra ... -shooting/
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"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
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Re: Mount Rainier Ranger Murdered

Postby Todd » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:08 am

Police Confirm Body Found is Gunman Sought in Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Shooting

Published January 02, 2012

| Associated Press

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Washington – Authorities have confirmed Monday afternoon that a body found on the slopes of Mount Rainier National Park was that of an Iraq War veteran suspected in the slaying of a park ranger.

Barnes is believed to have fled to the remote park to hide after an earlier shooting at a New Year's house party near Seattle that wounded four, two critically. Authorities suspect he shot ranger Margaret Anderson later Sunday.

Police cleared out the park of visitors and mounted a manhunt for Barnes, who was believed to have weapons and survivalist training. The body was found face down, Washington State Patrol spokesman Guy Gill said.

Barnes has had a troubled transition to civilian life, with accusations he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is suicidal.

He was involved in a custody dispute in July, during which his toddler daughter's mother sought a temporary restraining order against him, according to court documents. The woman told authorities he was suicidal and possibly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after deploying to Iraq in 2007-2008, and had once sent her a text message saying "I want to die."

She alleged that he gets easily irritated, angry and depressed and keeps an arsenal of weapons in his home. She wrote that she feared for the child's safety. Undated photos provided by police showed a shirtless, tattooed Barnes brandishing two large weapons.

In November 2011, a guardian ad litem recommended parenting and communication classes for both parents and recommending Barnes be allowed to continue supervised visits with the child, two days a week.

That visitation schedule was to continue until he completed a domestic violence evaluation and mental health evaluation and complied with all treatment recommendations.

On New Year's, there was an argument at a house party in Skyway, south of Seattle, and gunfire erupted, police said. Barnes was connected to the shooting, said Sgt. Cindi West, King County Sheriff's spokeswoman.

Two of the three people who fled the scene were located. West said authorities were trying to find Barnes and had been in contact with his family to ask them to convince him to step forward and "tell his side of the story."

At Mount Rainier around 10:20 a.m. Sunday, the gunman had sped past a checkpoint to make sure vehicles have tire chains, which are sometimes necessary in snowy conditions, Bacher said.

One ranger began following him while Anderson, a 34-year-old mother of two young children who was married to another Mount Rainier park ranger, eventually blocked the road to stop the driver.

Before fleeing, the gunman fired shots at both Anderson and the ranger that trailed him, but only Anderson was hit.

Anderson would have been armed, as she was one of the rangers tasked with law enforcement, parks spokesman Kevin Bacher said. Troyer said she was shot before she had even got out of the vehicle.

Park superintendent Randy King said Anderson had served as a park ranger for about four years. King said Anderson's husband also was working as a ranger elsewhere in the park at the time of the shooting.

"It's just a huge tragedy -- for the family, the park and the park service," he said.

Adam Norton, a neighbor of Anderson's in the small town of Eatonville, said the ranger's family moved in about a year ago. He said they were not around much, but when they were, Norton would see Anderson outside with her girls.

"They just seemed like the perfect family," he said.

The shooting renewed debate about a federal law that made it legal for people to take loaded weapons into Mount Rainier. The 2010 law made possession of firearms in national parks subject to state gun laws.

Bill Wade, the outgoing chair of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, said Congress should be regretting its decision to allow loaded weapons in national parks.

He called Sunday's fatal shooting a tragedy that could have been prevented. He hopes Congress will reconsider the law that took effect in early 2010, but doubts that will happen in today's political climate.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/02/po ... nd-killed/
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"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
Todd
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