Manhunt in Mount Rainier park after US ranger shot dead
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|Mon, 01-02-2012 - 9:37am|
What a tragedy. :smileysad:
Theoretically could NOT allowing fire-arms in state parks have prevented this murder?
A manhunt is under way for an Iraq war veteran wanted in connection with the murder of a ranger at a national park in Washington state.
Mount Rainier National Park was closed after ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, was shot dead after she set up a roadblock to try and stop the suspect's vehicle.
The suspect, named locally as Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, is also wanted in connection with an earlier shooting.
Mr Barnes is reported to be an Iraq war veteran with survivalist skills.
Police said they had recovered his vehicle, which had weapons and body armour inside.
The shooting happened as hikers and climbers flocked to enjoy the park's wooded trails and spectacular views of the 14,410 ft (4,392m) Mount Rainier on an unseasonably mild New Year's holiday.
The park was immediately closed after the shooting, and around 85 visitors and 15 park staff were moved into a visitors' centre to wait for police to give them the all-clear to leave.
Police said Mr Barnes was wanted for questioning over an early-morning shooting at a New Year's party in Skyway, just south of Seattle, which left four people injured.
The King County Sheriff's Office quoted witnesses as saying multiple people at the party were armed and a shoot-out had erupted following an argument over a weapon.
Mrs Anderson and a fellow ranger set up a roadblock after the suspect failed to stop at a tyre-assessment checkpoint at around 18:20 GMT on Sunday, a spokesman for the national park said.
Both rangers were fired on, but only Mrs Anderson - a mother of two young daughters and married to another of the park's rangers - was hit.
"It's just a huge tragedy - for the family, the park and the park service," park superintendent Randy King said.
The park will remain closed on Monday while the search continues through its 368 sq miles of terrain.Guns have been legal at Rainier since 2010
A change in federal law that took effect in February 2010 allows visitors to legally bring firearms in to places such as Mount Rainier National Park. The law made possession of firearms in national parks and refuges subject to the firearms laws of the state and communities where the parks are located. More...