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Contact: Lee Taylor, 360-569-6515
This morning an armed assailant shot and killed Ranger Margaret Anderson on the road to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park.The assailant is still at large and a manhunt is underway. The incident began when a car failed to stop at a required tire chain checkpoint.A ranger tried to pull the car over and when it failed to stop, park ranger Margaret Anderson established a road block with her vehicle.The assailant jumped from his car and opened fire with a shotgun, fatally wounding Ranger Anderson.The assailant then fled on foot into the woods. Park Rangers and law enforcement officers from various agencies responded .The Pierce County SWAT team arrived on scene and they, too, were fired upon while rendering aid to Ranger Anderson.
Law enforcement officers closed the park road, evacuated park visitors from Longmire, and locked down Paradise, with all visitors in the area taking refuge in the Jackson Visitor Center.There are 125 park visitors and 17 park staff in the visitor center at this time.The visitor center has a restaurant to provide food, restrooms, and water, and law enforcement officers are on hand to provide protection.
The search for the murderer continues into the night, with fixed wing aircraft using forward looking infrared to scan the ground.There are a more than 100 officers from a variety of agencies assisting with the manhunt for the shooter, including National Park Service, Pierce County Sheriff, FBI, Washington State Patrol, US Forest Service, City of Enumclaw, and Lewis County Sheriff.
Mount Rainier National Park will remain closed tomorrow.
Ranger Margaret Anderson, 34 years old, served at Mount Rainier for four years.She is survived by her husband, also a park ranger at Mount Rainier, and two young children.