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Armed man threatened mass shooting

Armed man threatened mass shooting
Armed man threatened mass shooting


According to authorities, 28-year-old Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner held a woman against her will and threatened to carry out a mass shooting outside Yellowstone National Park.

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The man who was killed last week after an exchange of gunfire with rangers in Yellowstone National Park had held a woman against her will and threatened to carry out a mass shooting outside the park, authorities said.

The suspect was identified Monday as Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, 28, of Milton, Florida, the Park County Sheriff’s Office said. Fussner died after an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers, the National Park Service said in a news release Tuesday.

Yellowstone’s emergency dispatch center received a call shortly after midnight on July 4 reporting that a woman was being held against her will by an armed man at a residence in the popular Canyon Village, which the National Park Service says offers lodges, cabins and campgrounds. The woman told authorities that “Fussner had threatened to kill her and others and that he had allegedly expressed plans for mass shootings at July 4 events outside the park,” the agency added.

Yellowstone National Park rangers later caught Fussner, who had fired a semi-automatic rifle at a Canyon Village restaurant, the National Park Service said. Fussner then died after an “armed confrontation with at least one park ranger,” according to the Park County Sheriff’s Office.

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Park County Coroner Cody Gortmaker confirmed to USA TODAY on Tuesday that Fussner’s cause of death was gunshot wounds.

The investigation is being led by the FBI and reviewed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming, the National Park Service said.

“Thanks to the heroic actions of our rangers, many lives were saved here last Thursday,” said Cam Sholly, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent, in a statement Tuesday. “These rangers immediately confronted the shooter and took decisive action to ensure he no longer poses a threat to public safety. We are now working to provide maximum support to those involved and their families.”

Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect was “probably armed and dangerous”

After the 911 call, rangers responding to the call found Fussner’s vehicle unoccupied in the Canyon Village area and concluded that the suspect was “likely armed and dangerous,” according to the National Park Service.

A recording of the BOLO message sent from the communications center in Yellowstone said the suspect “threatened to commit suicide against a police officer” and “threatened to shoot down a firework display somewhere in western Yellowstone or Montana.”

“Because the individual was at large, law enforcement officers were strategically deployed to protect areas with park visitors and employees during the search for Fussner. In addition, the park’s emergency operations center notified surrounding jurisdictions,” the National Park Service said.

The National Park Service said more than 20 rangers, including the park’s special operations team, searched for Fussner and worked to keep people safe in the early hours of the day. Around 8 a.m., rangers stationed near Canyon Lodge – a building used for employee housing and public dining – spotted Fussner walking toward the service entrance while firing a semi-automatic rifle.

According to the National Park Service, there were about 200 people in the building at the time of the incident. Several rangers then exchanged fire with Fussner, who was shot and died at the scene.

The agency identified Fussner as an employee of Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a private company with a license to do business in Yellowstone.

A ranger was also shot in the incident and taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition, the National Park Service said. The area has since been cleared and no other injuries have been reported.

Per agency policy, the rangers involved in the incident have been placed on leave pending the investigation. The National Park Service will also release bodycam footage of the shooting within 30 days, the agency said.

Contributor: Mary Walrath-Holdridge, USA TODAY; CA Bridges, USA TODAY Network – Florida