NPS ranger shot and killed in Mt. Rainier National Park

Margaret Anderson

UPDATEat 7:27 p.m. PT, January 1, 2012:

Authorities are looking for a particular individual in the shooting death of a National Park Service law enforcement ranger. Here is an excerpt from the SeattlePI:

Sources tell KOMO News that a man who is a person of interest in the shooting death of a park ranger Sunday morning near Mt. Rainier is also a suspect in a shooting that left four wounded in Skyway earlier in the day.

Detectives are looking for 24-year-old Benjamin Colton Barnes, according to a flyer being passed around by law enforcement at the scene of the shooting near Mt. Rainier.

Investigators have also recovered a car filled with weapons and body armor, along with survivalist gear, said Det. Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. But Troyer would not say for sure yet that car belongs to Barnes.

Benjamin Colton Barnes
Benjamin Colton Barnes. Photo provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. Officials said Barnes is a person of interest in the fatal shooting.


Updated at 7:17 p.m. PT, January 1, 2012

A law enforcement ranger for the National Park Service in Washington state was shot and killed in Mount Rainier National Park today, January 1, 2012.

Margaret Anderson
Margaret Anderson. NPS photo.

Here is an excerpt from CNN:

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.

The original attempt at the traffic stop occurred near Paradise Ranger Station.


Paradise West cam at 506 pm 1-1-2012
The first traffic stop occurred not far from the NPS "Paradise West" web cam. This photo from the web cam was taken today, January 1, at 5:06 p.m. PT.

Later, the gunman shot at other LE officers who responded to the shooting scene near Barns Flat (map), keeping them at bay for about three hours. When they finally reached the area, Ranger Anderson had deceased. She lived in Eatonville, Washington, and was married and had two children who are approximately 2 and 4.

Here is an excerpt from an AP report:

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

Below is a copy of the Tweets sent out by Detective Ed Toyer, copied at 2.29 p.m. PT today:

Pierce Sheriff tweets

The assailant still has not been apprehended and Mount Rainier National Park is closed. At least 100 officers from many agencies, including the NPS, FBI, U.S. Forest Service, Washington State Patrol, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department are still hunting for the shooter who they say is armed with a rifle. A Pierce County SWAT team and a U.S. Border Patrol Blackhawk helicopter are also involved in the search. The area is covered by about 50 inches of snow, so the shooter will have difficulty covering his or her tracks.

Paradise Jackson Visitor Center at 455 pm 1-1-2012
After the shooting law enforcement officers herded approximately 100 park visitors and employees into the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center to ensure their safety. This NPS web cam photo of the Visitor Center was taken at 4:55 p.m. today, 1-1-2012.

More information: Seattle PI, News Tribune, Mt. Rainier NP web cams.

Our sincere condolences to the family and coworkers of Ms. Anderson.


Thanks go out to Bill

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+