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Mount Rainier Joins in the Candlelight Vigil for Ranger Margaret Anderson
Photos and Story by Bob Walter...

  January 9, 2012: Mount Rainier, capped in a cloud-veil, displayed its own warm glow at sunset yesterday, minutes before the start of the candlelight vigil held in Eatonville for slain national park ranger Margaret Anderson. She was killed in the line-of-duty, Sunday, January 1, 2012 on the mountain.
     The candlelight vigil was held Sunday, January 8, one week after Ranger Anderson died near Paradise at Mount Rainier.

Candles Glow as Darkness Approaches...

    Hundreds gathered at the Eatonville Early Learning Center on the east end of town, where Margaret and Eric Anderson's two young children are enrolled, for a candlelight vigil in her memory. Several TV news teams were present to report the event.
    As people arrived, they were offered candles by volunteer organizers. Prayers were shared. "Amazing Grace" was sung by local student Emily Randolph. Five minutes of silence were observed, then a statement was read by one of Margaret's sister.
   As the light dimmed on a beautiful winter evening, the ceremony concluded and people began to slowly return to their cars and homes, many having walked across town to attend.

Remembering Margaret Anderson...

   In addition to candles (in small paper cups to protect fingers from hot wax) held by young and old at the candlelight vigil, carnations, as well as bubble solution were also supplied to those attending.
   This memory board, along with pens and index cards to allow more thoughts and prayers to be recorded, gave people the means to connect with the family of Ranger Margaret Anderson. Many mourners took time to write condolence messages to Anderson's family.
   Ranger Margaret Anderson was shot and killed New Year's Day just below Paradise by a heavily-armed man who had just blown through a tire chain installation checkpoint, and was approaching the visitor center when he encountered her roadblock and shot her. She leaves two small daughters and husband, Eric, who live in Eatonville.



Candlelight Vigil for Ranger Anderson January 8...

     A candlelight vigil will be held in Eatonville Sunday, January 8 beginning at 5 p.m. The vigil will be at the Eatonville Early Learning Center, 516 Center Street East (the yellow building).



Mount Rainier News: 

Park Completes First Day of Resumed Operations after Tragedy on the Mountain....

      from Patti Wold, PIO
      NPS Western Incident Management Team
      January 7, 2012

     January 7, 2012—Mount Rainier National Park successfully completed its first day of operations since being closed in response to the New Year’s Day killing of Park Ranger Margaret Anderson.
     “It was heartening to arrive at the park this morning and see the line of cars at the Nisqually Entrance full of people eager to enjoy their park today,” said Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King. “We are thankful for the dozens of employees that have come here from other national parks whose assistance allowed us to reopen.”
     “We are also grateful for the dozens of individuals from other agencies that are helping us recover,” added Superintendent King. The National Park Service Western Incident Management Team is working closely with the Behind the Badge Foundation and the National Park Service Critical Incident Management Team to support Park Ranger Margaret Anderson’s family, Mount Rainier National Park employees, and assist with arrangements for Tuesday’s Memorial Service.
     In addition, National Park Service investigators continue to collaborate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department to investigate the incident.
     Memorial Service. A memorial service to celebrate the life of Ranger Margaret Anderson is open to the public: Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 1 p.m., Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Avenue South Tacoma, Washington
     Support
    The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations made out to the “Margaret Anderson Donation Account,” may be sent to KeyBank, P.O. Box 159, Eatonville, WA 98328.
    The National Park Foundation has also established a memorial fund to benefit the children of Margaret and Eric Anderson. Visit www.nationalparks.org/MargaretAnderson  to help.
    Visiting Mount Rainier. All winter services, except the Snoplay area at Paradise, have resumed. Visit www.nps.gov/mora to learn more.
 



Ranger Margaret Anderson's Family Expresses Gratitude for the Kindness and Sympathy Extended to Them...

      From Kevin Bacher, NPS - Thursday, January 5, 2012: The family of Margaret Anderson has asked Mount Rainier National Park to release the following statement:

     "The husband, daughters, and family of Margaret Kritsch Anderson, the fallen Law Enforcement Ranger slain in the line of
duty on January 1, 2012 at Mount Rainier National Park, extend their deepest gratitude and profound appreciation for all the expressions of sympathy, cards, meals and prayers upon the loss of our beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. We appreciate the opportunity to grieve in private."

      The family asks that donations be made in lieu of flowers. They should be sent to KeyBank, P. O. Box 159, Eatonville, Washington 98328. Donations will help Eric raise the girls. Checks should be made out to the Margaret Anderson Donation Account.

     The family is not providing any media interviews.
 



Memorial Service to Celebrate
the Life of Ranger Margaret Anderson, January 10...

      from Patti Wold, PIO
     NPS Western Incident Management Team
     January 4, 2012


     A memorial service will be held to celebrate the life of Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, at 1 p.m., on Tuesday, January 10, 2012, at Pacific Lutheran University – 12180 Park Avenue S, Tacoma, Washington. Ranger Anderson was fatally shot in the line of duty on January 1, 2012.
    Arrangements are in progress and will be posted on the park website
www.nps.gov/mora as information becomes available.
    The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to KeyBank, P.O. Box 159, Eatonville, WA 98328. Checks should be made out to the Margaret Anderson Donation Account.
    Please direct all correspondence including requests for information, resource offers, and condolences to
MountRainierInfo@gmail.com.



Mourning Slain Ranger Margaret Anderson...

     January 2, 2012: Flags at the Eatonville post office and fire station fly at half-staff in honor of Park Ranger Margaret Anderson who was gunned down by a deranged  park visitor New Year's Day. Photo by Bob Walter.



Mount Rainier Remains Closed Until Saturday, January 7


                                                                                    (N)PS photo)

     January 3, 2012 - by Bob Walter: Eatonville Fire Chief Dexter Habeck was a busy man Monday, January 2, politely and efficiently responding to requests for interviews from reporters, in the wake of the slaying of Mount Rainier National Park Ranger and Eatonville resident, Margaret Anderson, on New Year’s Day. It had to be a difficult day for Habeck, who related how Anderson had been working to coordinate and standardize emergency medical response training among agencies between Eatonville and the mountain, including Eatonville Fire, Fire District 23 (Ashford-Elbe) and the national park’s fire and aid staff. Chief Habeck added that Anderson’s husband, Eric, also a ranger at the park, was to begin volunteering for Eatonville in the near future.
     In this short video, Chief Habeck explains Ranger Anderson’s contributions in getting all local emergency responders “on the same training page.” The flags in front of Station 84 flew at half-staff in honor of the slain ranger.
Chief Habeck discusses Ranger Margaret Anderson - YouTube

Park Family Needs Time to Grieve...

      from Patti Wold
     Information Officer
     NPS Western Incident Management Team
     January 3, 3012

   
 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.
     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 three  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.
 



Breaking News: Tragedy on the Mountain

Suspect in Ranger Killing Found Dead on Mount Rainier
Park Remains Closed to Public Through Tuesday, January 3...


                                                                                 (NPS photo)

      Ranger Margaret Anderson died in the line of duty on New Year's day at the National Park. Read hundreds of condolences, from all over the country, at the Officer Down Website and leave your own reflections - Reflections for Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service, U.S. Government 

Mother Nature Claimed the Killer

      from Lee Taylor and Patti Wold
     NPS Western Incident Management Team
     January 2, 2012  - 8:45 p.m.

     The intensive manhunt on Mount Rainier for the suspect who fatally shot Park Ranger Margaret Anderson January 1 came to an end on Monday. 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 en route to the park to assist with planning a memorial service for Ranger Anderson and with ongoing park needs.
    “We want to thank the local, state, and federal agencies that assisted in the effort to apprehend Margaret Anderson’s killer. It brings tremendous relief and great comfort to know the park is once again safe. We will now work towards reopening the park,” stated Superintendent Randy King. He went on to say, “Our thoughts and condolences are with Margaret’s family and their tragic loss.”
     The park will remain closed to the public through Tuesday, January 3.
     On the morning of January 1 Park Ranger Margaret Anderson set up a traffic block to intercept a vehicle that had 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, had 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 has been 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.
     Approximately 200 personnel were involved in search operations on Monday, January 2. 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.



Body Found Today Probably   that of Ranger Anderson Killer
Benjamin Barnes...

Undated Photo of Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, suspected killer of Park Ranger Margaret Anderson.

      January 2, 2012 - Noon: From CNN Breaking News: There is a strong probability that a male body found Monday buried in the snow [near Narada Falls] is that of a man sought for questioning in the shooting death Sunday of a ranger at Washington's Mount Rainier National Park, an official with the Pierce County Sheriff's Office said.
     "At this point, we're just waiting to confirm it," said Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.
     The discovery came after a massive manhunt had been under way in steep, snow-covered and wooded terrain for the man, whom authorities had sought in connection with the fatal New Year's Day shooting of park ranger Margaret Anderson.
     KING 5 in Seattle reports said Barnes was found in a ditch not far from where he took off after the shooting. Officials had not reached the body when the news broke.

     Watch video about discovering body on KIRO TV - Video: Manhunt finds body, face-down in snow | www.kirotv.com

 



January 1, 2012: Mount Rainier National Park to Remain Closed Monday as Massive Manhunt Continues for Shooter

People are Warned to Keep Away from the Area Until the Suspect is Caught

See Related Stories Below...

"Person of Interest" Sought in Lethal Park Shooting...

      January 1, 2012 - 5 p.m.: According to news sources investigators at Mount Rainier have a "strong person of  interest" in the lethal shooting of park ranger Margaret Anderson. Law enforcement passed around a flyer of Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, pictured above. Authorities only called him a person of interest and warn people to be on the lookout for the man. Barnes has a tattoo low on the back of his neck reading, "Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust."
      A vehicle was "recovered" which was "filled with weapons, body armor and survivalist gear," but the sheriff's spokesman, Ed Troyer, stopped short of confirming the vehicle belonged to Barnes. Later reports said the vehicle did belong to the suspect.
      Officials believe the gunman has military and survivalist training. It has also been reported that Barnes is an Iraq war veteran. Some park staff say they saw another ranger's car with the windshield shot out soon after the shooting of Anderson. Park authorities believe they have found the suspect's footprints in the snow and have been following them. But say the man is "way ahead " of them.
     
KOMO News in Seattle reports that Barnes is also a "suspect" in the shooting of four people in Skyway after midnight New Years. Three men and a woman were found by King County deputies in the 6200 block of South 117th Place. The victims were rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, two people were said to be in critical condition.
     
KCPQ Channel 13 is reporting, "in  2011, Barnes has had two restraining orders filed against him by the mother of his one-year-old child. In November, a court ruled that he could only have two supervised visits a week with his daughter until he completed a domestic violence and mental health investigation. The restraining orders indicate that Barnes is National Guard member or Reservist."
     
The person of interest is armed with at least one assault rifle. However officials don't know how many weapons or how much ammunition the shooter has with him and suspect he has several weapons with him as he tries to escape the park.
      The public has been allowed to carry guns in Mount Rainier since a highly controversial federal law making firearms legal in national parks subject to state gun laws.
     



Ranger Fatally Shot  at Mount Rainier
First Officer Shot and Killed in the Line of Duty


                                                                                                                                                  (NPS Photo)

      The New Year began with heartbreak at Mount Rainier after Margaret Anderson, 34, mother of two young daughters, 4  and 2, was shot and killed at the National Park this morning. Anderson lived at Hamner Springs in Eatonville with her children and husband, Eric, also a ranger at the park. He was working at the park Sunday too, but not in the area where his wife was killed.
      Ranger Anderson's body was eventually recovered by an FBI SWAT team and removed from the park late in the day.
    

Manhunt for Shooter Continues as Darkness Approaches...

       Press Release
       January 1, 2012
       3:55 p.m.

     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, was fatally shot this morning 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 are in lock down at the Jackson Visitor Center along with park staff. The shooter is still at large. Park staff are being assisted in the search for the shooter by Pierce County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State Patrol, and the FBI.
 



"Dark Cloud Over Rainier"


                                                                                                                                                                              (photo by Tony Sirgedas)

     Tony Sirgedas writes at 4:07 p.m. January 1, 2012: "What a sad day for the extended Mount Rainier Community. Somehow the mountain always seems to reflect the mood of the day. Today it ends with a dark cloud hanging over the mountain a short time ago."
 



Woman Ranger Shot at Park has Died...


      January 1, 2012 - 1:30 p.m.: A four-year veteran of Mount Rainier, Ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, a resident of Eatonville,  has died from the shooting this morning at Mount Rainier. Her husband is also a park ranger at Rainier.
      She was the mother of two small children ages 2 and 4. According to the newest details another ranger tried to stop a vehicle near Paradise and the driver took off. When he was stopped at a roadblock about a mile below Paradise shots were fired and Anderson was hit.
The suspect then fled on foot.
     
Mount Rainier National Park is federal land and the FBI, along with Pierce County Sheriffs, SWAT teams, military and Washington State Patrol are on the scene searching for the shooter. So far the suspect has not been captured.

      The shooting took place near in the Barns Flat area.  The Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise went into lockdown at 11:30 a.m., Paradise Inn was closed at the time. The National Park Inn at Longmire was locked down at 1 p.m.



Ranger Shot at Mount Rainier
Park Closed Until Further Notice
 Suspect on Foot with Long Rifle...

    January 1, 2012 - 1 p.m.: According to news reports a U. S. Forest Service ranger has been shot near the Longmire Ranger Station at Mount Rainier National Park. The shooting took place around 10:30 a.m. KCPQ Channel 13 reports the ranger, a woman, was shot after making a felony stop. The condition of the ranger is not known at this time and she had not yet been removed from the area.
        In an update KCPQ also reports that responders couldn't reach the ranger until about 12:45 p.m. because the suspect was firing at them.
     The park is closed until further notice as the gunman is loose in the park, on foot and armed with a long rifle. After shooting the ranger the suspect fled on foot leaving his vehicle at the scene. The ranger was able to radio for help according to news reports.
     An army of law enforcement: Pierce County sheriffs and Washington State Patrol units raced to the scene and it was reported that shots were being fired about 12:30 p.m. 
      The park is closed until further notice. Troopers are at the gate turning visitors away. The public has been urged to stay away from the area.
News helicopters have been asked not to fly over the area.

                                                                                                                                  

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