January 4, 2012
Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, was fatally shot on Sunday, January 1 at Mount Rainier National Park. After a driver failed to pull over during a routine traffic stop, Ranger Anderson set up a road block to intercept the driver. The assailant got out of his vehicle and shot Ranger Anderson and then fled on foot. It took 90 minutes for back-up to reach Ranger Anderson because the assailant continued shooting at law enforcement as they arrived. Visitors at the Paradise area were in lock-down at the Jackson Visitor Center along with park staff through the day.
The shooter remained at large through the night. Park staff were assisted in the search for the shooter by Pierce County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State Patrol, and the FBI.
On Monday the 2nd, 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. He apparently died of exposure during the night.
Margaret is survived by her husband Eric, also a National Park employee and two small children.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.