Riverside Man Wanted In Mount Rainier Park Ranger Killing Found Dead
RIVERSIDE (CBS) — Police confirm a body found Monday in Mount Rainier National Park was that of Benjamin Barnes, who was wanted in the shooting death Sunday of a park ranger. Barnes was reportedly from Riverside.
Barnes had a tattoo across his abdomen of a Navajo and Central Indian American rain cross associated with Riverside. His Facebook page lists Riverside as his hometown, and Seattle as his current city of residence.
Search teams discovered Barnes’ body inside the Mt. Rainier park, which is located in southwest Washington State.
“The body was located in a river,” said Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. “[Searchers] had to walk in the river, and they have located the body.”
Mount Rainier Park Ranger Chuck Young said the cause of death was not yet known. “Investigators are now working on figuring out how he died,” said Young.
Authorities say Barnes shot and killed park ranger Margaret Anderson in the early hours of Sunday morning when she attempted to prevent him from entering the park.
Officials say Barnes opened fire on Anderson’s vehicle, emptying multiple rounds before exchanging gunfire with officers. Barnes allegedly escaped into the woods on foot.
Police found weapons and body armor inside Barnes’ vehicle.
Barnes was wanted for questioning in a New Year’s Eve house party shooting near Seattle that left four people wounded. Police believe he traveled to the park to hide out.
The park was closed and 125 visitors were evacuated after Anderson’s killing.
More than 200 officers were searching the area for Barnes, an Iraq war veteran who reportedly suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Barnes was 24.