Mount Rainier National Park will remain closed to the public until Saturday to allow for park staff to grieve in the wake of the murder of Ranger Margaret Anderson, officials said Tuesday evening.
Ranger Anderson, a 34-year-old law enforcement ranger, was shot and killed in the line of duty on New Year's Day when she blocked the road to Paradise with her patrol car to intercept a man in a car who had fled a check stop near the park's Nisqually Entrance.
Authorities say Benjamin Colton Barnes leaped out of his car and killed the ranger with blasts from a shotgun before fleeing into the surrounding forest. Mr. Barnes, an Iraqi war veteran believed to be connected to a shooting in Seattle earlier that day, was found dead Monday in a steep ravine near Narda Falls.
Ranger Anderson, who was born and grew up in New Jersey, joined the National Park Service as a seasonal ranger at Bryce Canyon National Park in 2000. In 2004 she gained a full-time position at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. She transferred to Mount Rainier larte in 2008.
She met her husband, Eric, also a law enforcement ranger, at Bryce Canyon. In addition to her husband, Ranger Anderson is survived by two daughters, age 3 and 1.