California firefighter honored as “unsung hero”

Above: Honoring “unsung heroes” at the Department of Agriculture. USDA photo.

Yesterday the office of Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, distributed by Twitter the photo above, saying:

It’s #PublicServiceRecognitionWeek, an occasion to acknowledge the fine work our @USDA career employees do every week of the year. Happy to speak at a ceremony to honor our “Unsung Heroes.” They’re the ones who help fulfill our mission to Do Right and Feed Everyone.

One of the honorees was a firefighter on the Los Padres National Forest in California, Division Chief Peter Harris. On December 11, 2017 he was shot in the neck and ear while driving a USFS vehicle in Monterey County, California.

Here is how the USFS, @R5_Fire_News, in a series of five tweets on May 10 described the incident:

On Dec 11, 2017 @LosPadresNF Div Chief Peter Harris was shot in the head &back while driving back to his station after a fire response. Harris radioed law enforcement & a medi-vac helicopter for himself. Covered in blood, but not knowing the extent of his own injuries, Harris determined it may take as long as 30 min for help to arrive in such a remote area of the forest. Instead of driving from harm, Harris used his vehicle to block the road & prevent the public from entering the area of the shooter. Today, @USDA @SecretarySonny honored Division Chief Harris & others as part of the @USDA “Unsung Hero” awards in Washington, DC.

Arizona Forest Service officer involved in shooting

(UPDATED at 11:22 p.m. MST January 8, 2018)

The FBI released more information Monday about the January 5 shooting in Arizona that left one person deceased:

A Forest Service Officer stopped to render assistance to a vehicular traffic accident. An altercation occurred between the officer and the subject, Tyler Miller of Kansas. It was later determined the officer was injured and treated on the scene by EMS personnel.  Miller was shot and transferred to a medical center and later declared deceased.


(UPDATED at 12:50 p.m. MST January 7, 2018)

According to KWCH, the person killed in the shooting that involved a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer January 5 has been identified as Tyler Miller. The uninjured USFS officer has not been named.

The FBI says 51-year-old Tyler Miller was injured and later died at a hospital. The officer’s name was not released, he suffered no injuries.

According to the office of the Kansas Secretary of State, Miller is the owner of TNT Bonding in Hutchinson [Kansas]. The family’s attorney, Matt Bretz, says Miller is a well-respected entrepreneur from Hutchinson.

The FBI says Miller was involved in a wreck earlier that evening.


(Originally published at 8:14 a.m. MST January 6, 2018)

A U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer was involved in a shooting Friday January 5 north of Sedona, Arizona. According to local media the officer was not injured but one person was transported and pronounced dead at a hospital.

State Route 89A was closed for about five hours as the FBI investigated the incident.

On December 11 a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service was shot while driving a vehicle in Monterey County, California. The victim, Division Chief Peter Harris, was shot in the neck and ear. The suspect, Jacob Kirkendall, fled but was found and arrested.

In 2012 National Park Service Ranger, Margaret Anderson, was shot and killed in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Firefighter shot while on duty in California

Jacob Kirkendall
Jacob Kirkendall

A wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service was shot December 11 while driving a vehicle in Monterey County, California. The victim, Division Chief Peter Harris, was shot in the neck and ear. Even though he was wounded, Chief Harris was able to provide a description to a 911 operator.

Below is an excerpt from an article by KSBW:

The suspected gunman was identified as 25-year-old Jacob Kirkendall of Santa Cruz.

Kirkendall led Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies and Fort Hunter Liggett officers on a chase through the Army post while he was driving a red pickup truck.

Law enforcement authorities opened fire on Kirkendall’s truck, and bullets struck the driver’s side door, according to scanner traffic.

Kirkendall sped off, officers lost sight of the pickup truck, and the gunman slipped away for several tense minutes, according to scanner traffic. [With help from a CHP helicopter] Kirkendall was eventually found, arrested, and taken into custody. The Sheriff’s Office declined to discuss a possible motive, and would not comment on why Kirkendall was in south Monterey County.

Harris was taken to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, and he is expected to be OK.

Kirkendall is being charged with attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Ken.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Body found may be shooter of NPS Park Ranger

UPDATE at 4:10 p.m. PT, January 2, 2012

CNN is reporting that the National Park Service said the body spotted by personnel in an aircraft is confirmed to be Benjamin Colton Barnes, suspected of shooting and killing park ranger Margaret Anderson the previous day.


Benjamin Barnes
Benjamin Barnes

Law enforcement officers searching for the person who shot and killed Park Ranger Margaret Anderson yesterday in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, today spotted from an aircraft a face-down body and believe it may be 24-year old Benjamin Barnes, the suspect in the fatal shooting. The thermal infrared equipment on the aircraft did not detect any heat signature on the body. It will take about two hours for officers on the ground to snowshoe to the location. Obviously, it has not been 100% confirmed that the body is that of Barnes, or that Barnes is the person who killed Ranger Anderson.

Members of a SWAT team have been snowshoeing through chest-deep snow searching for the shooter. The team was not trained or equipped for tracking a suspect in deep snow and rugged terrain, but they were outfitted by National Park Service personnel with specialized equipment and information.

More details have emerged about the shooting. Driving a vehicle, the shooter approached a checkpoint in Mount Rainier National Park at which park rangers check every vehicle to ensure they have tire chains. He failed to stop and fled in his vehicle. The ranger at the checkpoint radioed ahead to Ranger Margaret Anderson who blocked the road with her vehicle. Dan Camiccia, another ranger, also responded, and according to CNN “they confronted him together,” Camiccia said. The shooter exited the vehicle and fired multiple rounds from a shotgun at both rangers while they were still in their vehicles, fatally wounding Anderson before she had a chance to get out of her patrol vehicle. Camiccia was not hit, but when the gunman approached him, he put his vehicle in reverse and left the area.

The suspect fled into the forest through deep snow and kept responding officers at bay by shooting at them with a rifle as they attempted to assist Ranger Anderson. No one was hit by the rifle shots, but at least 90 minutes elapsed before they were able to access her location. When they reached the 34-year-old mother of two, she had died.

Inside the suspect’s abandoned vehicle, officers found multiple weapons, ammunition, body armor and survival gear.

The suspect in the murder of Anderson, Benjamin C. Barnes, is also a suspect in a shooting in a Skyway, Washington apartment that left four people injured on New Year’s Eve. It was thought that he planned to hide in the National Park after the apartment shooting.

Barnes had two restraining orders filed against him by the mother of his one-year-old child. In an affidavit, the woman wrote that Barnes was suicidal and possibly suffered from PTSD after deploying to Iraq in 2007-2008. She said he gets easily irritated, angry and depressed and keeps an arsenal of weapons in his home.