The coordinated search involving more than 200 law enforcement personnel after the tragic shooting death of a Mount Rainer National Park Ranger has come to an end with the suspected body of the shooter being found in the woods of the park.
Benjamin Colton Barnes, the suspect who was sought by authorities in the death of the Park Ranger, was also a person of interest in a separate shooting in a Washington suburb in which four people were injured on New Year’s Eve.
The gun fire broke out near the Longmire Ranger Station in Mount Rainier National Park shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday. Ranger Margaret Anderson was setting up a roadblock using her car. Reports then stated that the alleged shooter "blew through" a roadblock between Longmire and Paradise.
Rainier National Park Spokesperson Lee Taylor told the Chicago Tribune: “A ranger tried to pull the car over and when it failed to stop, Park Ranger Margaret Anderson established a road block with her vehicle. The assailant jumped from his car and opened fire with a shotgun, fatally wounding Ranger Anderson.”
The roadblock was set up to check cars entering the park for proper tires and tire chains. “The incident began when a car failed to stop at a required tire chain checkpoint,” Taylor said.
Anderson was shot while she was inside her car. She radioed for help as the suspect fled on foot. It took more than an hour for emergency personnel to reach Anderson because Barnes continued shooting at law enforcement officers as they arrived.
The body was spotted face down about two miles below Paradise in a rugged area, Ranger Kevin Bacher said at a media briefing.
Anderson was 34-years-old and was the mother of two young daughters, ages four and two. She had worked as a Ranger for the Park Service for about four years with her husband and fellow Park Ranger.