Man told hostage about mass shooting plan
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Man told hostage about mass shooting plan

CHEYENNE, Wyoming. A gunman killed by Yellowstone National Park rangers as he fired a semiautomatic rifle outside a crowded restaurant told a woman he was holding at gunpoint that he planned to carry out a mass shooting, park officials said.

Around 8 a.m. on July 4, a Florida man approached police officers stationed near a food court at Canyon Lodge in Yellowstone National Park and began shooting toward the guest entrance.







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Law enforcement officers gathered July 4 outside a workers’ housing building in Canyon Village in Yellowstone National Park.


National Park Service


The rangers returned fire, killing Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, 28, of Milton, Florida, the Park Service said in a news release Tuesday. The unidentified park ranger, who was wounded in the “lower extremity” during the shooting, was treated at a local hospital and released. Fussner died at the scene.

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There were approximately 200 people in the building at the time of the incident. In accordance with Department of Interior and NPS policy, body camera footage of the incident will be released within 30 days.

“Thanks to the heroic actions of our law enforcement officers, many lives were saved last Thursday” Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement“Officers immediately confronted the shooter and took decisive action to ensure he no longer posed a threat to public safety.”







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Law enforcement investigates July 4 outside Canyon Village facilities in Yellowstone.


National Park Service


More than 20 Park Service rangers, including the park’s special response team, were dispatched to Canyon Village in the early morning hours of July 4 after a woman called 911. She told a Yellowstone dispatcher that she was being held against her will by Fussner at a residence in Canyon Village.

She also reported to law enforcement that Fussner had made death threats against her and others, including plans to carry out a mass shooting on July 4.t “events outside the park” – we read in a press release.

An alert was then sent to nearby law enforcement agencies, warning them to be on the lookout for Fussner, along with a description of his vehicle. A recording of the alert was posted on Facebook.

When officers arrived at Canyon Village, they found Fussner’s vehicle, but it was empty. The news release did not indicate how long the delay was between officers’ arrival and the shooting.







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Law enforcement gathers outside a workers’ housing building in Canyon Village in Yellowstone National Park on July 4. A shootout with park rangers leaves the shooter dead and one ranger wounded.


National Park Service


The incident is inevitabler the FBI investigation, which is also providing victim/witness support to all involved in the incident, along with the Park Service and Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the park concessionaire. Fussner was an employee of Xanterra.

“We are working on proving that now.“We are providing maximum support to those involved and their families,” Sholly said.

NPS policy for law enforcement officers involved in a shooting is to place them on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted.

Some facilities at Canyon Village were temporarily closed, including the campground. By Tuesday, the campground had reopened along with the “limited number of select rooms and most other guest services,” Xanterra noted on its website.

The Yellowstone July 4 shooting is the 120th officer-involved shooting in National Park Service history, according to NPS Ranger News. The first officer-involved shooting in Yellowstone occurred between 1916 and 1920, when former Chief Scout Jim McBride was shot by a poacher, Ranger News reported.


Why Mass Shootings and Violence Rise in Summer

Violent crime is rare in Yellowstone Park. In 1997, a murder-suicide occurred in the Frog Rock area, six miles east of Mammoth, involving a 69-year-old Idaho mother and the shooter, her 48-year-old son. The couple had been on the run after a check fraud and car theft, according to the Cowboy State Daily.

In 1985, a 22-year-old park employee was beaten to death by a co-worker near Old Faithful. In 1978, a 17-year-old from California was fatally shot by a man he was traveling with in the Boiling River area north of Mammoth Hot Springs.