Monday, January 2, 2012

Benjamin Colton Barnes Hunted as he Kills Park Ranger Margaret Anderson in Cold Blood, Mount Rainier National Park - 2nd Jan 2011

Authorities are scouring Mount Rainier National Park for a cold-blooded killer who gunned down a U.S. Forest Service Ranger and then fired at officers who were coming to help her.

Officials closed the park after the shooting Sunday, and asked people to stay out of the area while they search for a man carrying a long rifle, who is believed to be involved in another shooting at a New Year's Eve party hours earlier.

The female ranger, Margaret Anderson, 34, a married mother of two young girls, was shot as she stopped the suspect's car.

A 'strong person of interest' has been identified as Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, an Iraq war veteran who is believed to have strong wilderness survival skills and is heavily armed.

Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Troyer said authorities recovered Barnes' vehicle, which had weapons and body armour inside.

Authorities believed the gunman was still in the woods with an assault rifle. They asked people to stay away from the park, and for those already there to leave.

Mr Troyer said there were about 100 people hunkered down in lodges and cabins on the mountain.

They were told to stay put because they could be in the line of fire.

Armored vehicles were being brought in to ferry them safely out of the park.

Mr Troyer said authorities were following tracks in the snow they believe are from the gunman, and crews planned to bring an airplane through the area with heat-seeking capabilities.

He added: 'We believe we have a good track on him, but he's way ahead of us'.
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