Contact: Patti Wold, 360-569-6515-_-_
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. Donations should be sent to:
P.O. Box 159-_
Eatonville, WA 98328
Checks should be made out to Margaret Anderson Donation Account.
Please direct all condolences, offers of assistance and inquiry e-mails to [email protected]< /a>.
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.