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NPS will review Rainier ranger Margaret Anderson’s death, search for ways to avoid repeat of tragedy

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Jan. 11, 2012 at 10:11 am with 3 Comments »
January 11, 2012 11:23 am

Mount Rainier National Park officials will take an in depth look at the incidents surrounding the killing of ranger Margaret Anderson in hopes of preventing similar situation, park superintendent Randy King said.

“There will be some kind of review,” King said. “It is a necessary part of these things so that you learn. We will look at this in detail and see if there were things that could have been done to prevent it.”

Anderson was shot on New Year’s Day by a man she had stopped after he ran through a winter tire checkpoint in the park. The shooter, Benjamin Barnes, was a suspect in a shooting earlier in the day in Skyway near Renton and apparently fled to the park.

Barnes reportedly paid the entry fee at the park’s entrance, King said, but did not stop for law enforcement rangers who were checking all vehicles at Longmire.

After shooting Anderson, he fled into the woods. He was found dead, drowned in Paradise Creek, after a 24-hour manhunt.

More than 3,700 people attended a regionally televised memorial service for Anderson at Pacific Lutheran University. Anderson was a 34-year-old mother of two girls who lived in Eatonville with her husband, Eric.

King said studying the events of her death is important.

“What you are trying to do is use the benefit of that hard-earned knowledge to help others who are also called upon to perform law enforcement,” King said. “… It is not fault finding. It is, are there things that could have been done differently.”

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, a former Rainier superintendent, says the agency will “do everything in our power to understand this incredible tragedy right up to the very, very minor detail so that hopefully we can prevent it in the future.”

King was the chairman for the board of review for the last NPS in the line of duty shooting death. In 2002, ranger Kris Eggle was shot and killed while pursuing members of a Mexican drug cartel at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near the Arizona-Mexico border.

Both King and Jarvis urged visitors not to fear visiting national parks because of Anderson’s death.

“This is a highly unusual incident,” Jarvis said. “Our national parks are incredibly safe places for the public to come and visit, bring their families.”


Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. Wrapper98439 says:

    Come on. Short of putting the rangers in armoured cars or putting up military type barriers that pop up like at McChord, there is no way to stop an incident like this. The problem is not the park or the rangers. It is the parents that fail.

  2. psycodug says:

    Did I miss the story that reported the events prior to the entering of the Park???
    How did barnes make it from Skyway to the Park with a carload of weapons, after shooting people at a party??? A party!!! C’mon, there had to be witnesses, people calling 911, reports by patrol cars…. Where is all that information??? How did he get to the park after the shooting? where did he go?? Where did he collect the weapons from after the party?? How is it he went unoticed by police??

  3. flygirl911 says:

    The Park Service and Public Safety Issues and Concerns…..
    In the year 2012 it sounds incomphrensible that a “law enforcement officer” of any agency including the NPS be asked to perform their duties without adequate protection for both themsleves and community of the Park Service in which they serve.

    If officiaials serving in the capacity of law enforcemnet agents are unarmed and cannot protect themselves how can they protect the visitors at the varying locations of the Park Service?

    How can an agency such as the Park Service ask their rangers to act as “law enforcemnet” officaials without even giving them a service weapon or any other tools to protect themselves?

    Early repostrs reported that Margaret Anderson was in fact attempting to flee from the suspect that murdered her. Attempts to flee because she lacked the ability to defend her life?

    I think a root- cause ananlysis would be helpful in preventing yet another tradegy like this one from occuring.

    I am appaled that we could ask any law enforcment officer to function in the capacity of law enforcment without providing them with the adequate training and tools to do so.

    Is there such a thing as a “rountine traffic stop” ?
    Officers loose their lives often at these “rountine trafic stops” as evident at Mt. Rainier.
    Also, are agencies not liable when they require any individual to perform duties that they do not adequately equip and train the employee to perform?

    Would even a K-9 trained in personal protection have been of benefit to the ranger? If the K-9’s can take out Bin Laden they surely would be of benefit to the Park Service.

    It needs to be more than a review of what happened but implementation of training nad equipment to prevent yet another incident from occuring wihin the Park Service.
    In the isolated areas of the National Park Service, when visitors need help would it not be more logical to ask the Rangers to respond with the equipment and defense they need to secure public safety?

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