The investigation into the death of a toddler from a gunshot wound at Yellowstone National Park moved into Friday with no word on which direction it was taking.
Al Nash, the park's spokesman, said Thursday he had no updates into the death last Saturday of Ella Marie Tucker, a 3-year-old from Pocatello, Idaho. He did say that he was told it was “an involved investigation and it was going to take some time.”
The fatal shooting was the third in the National Park System, aside from suicides, since Congress in 2009 passed legislation to allow park visitors to arm themselves if they were allowed to carry weapons in the state in which a park is located.
In April 2010, shortly after the rule change took effect, a man used a shotgun to shoot two people watching a sunset from the Rock Point Overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A 27-year-old disc jockey from Charlottesville, Virginia, was hit and knocked off a 150-foot cliff and died from his injuries a few days later. An 18-year-old female companion survived the shooting.
The man charged with the shooting received a life sentence in June 2011, according to National Park Service officials.
On January 1, 2012, a law enforcement ranger at Mount Rainier National Park was gunned down by a man on the run. Margaret Anderson, a 34-year-old law enforcement ranger, was shot and killed when she tried to intercept the man as he fled a routine checkpoint where park visitors were supposed to stop to see if they had chains for their tires.
Her killer was later found dead in the park's backcountry.
In the Yellowstone incident last Saturday morning, a woman at the sprawling, 430-site Grant Village Campground called 911 to report her daughter had "just shot herself with a handgun."
The 3-year-old's death was the first gun-related fatality of a Yellowstone visitor in 35 years. In 1978, a 17-year-old California man was shot by a traveling companion following an argument in Boiling River just north of Mammoth Hot Springs. Prior to that, in 1938 the 13-year-old son of the park's master mechanic accidentally shot himself in the head with a rifle and died, according to park records.