A gunman killed at a Yellowstone dining facility earlier told a woman he planned a mass shooting

Jul 9, 2024, 4:45 PM | Updated: Jul 10, 2024, 2:06 pm

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — A gunman killed by Yellowstone National Park rangers as he fired a semiautomatic rifle at the entrance of a dining facility with about 200 people inside had told a woman as he held her at gunpoint earlier that he planned to carry out a mass shooting, park officials said Tuesday.

Park rangers shot back and killed the man during the attack Thursday morning. Yellowstone officials identified the lone shooter Tuesday as Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, 28, of Milton, Florida.

A park ranger who was wounded was released from a hospital but not identified.

The shooting led authorities to close off Canyon Lodge, a complex of hotel rooms, cabins and dining facilities, some of which remained closed Tuesday. Fussner worked for Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the main concessionaire for such facilities in Yellowstone, park officials said in a statement Tuesday.

The statement provided several previously unreleased details about what happened.

Soon after midnight Thursday, law enforcement rangers heard that Fussner had held a woman against her will with a gun at a residence in Canyon Village, a lodging area near Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in the park’s northern end. The woman reported that Fussner threatened to kill her and others, including carrying out a mass shooting at July 4 events outside the park.

Rangers found Fussner’s vehicle but not him. More than 20 law enforcement rangers, including a park special response team, looked for Fussner while organizing to protect park visitors and employees.

Around 8 a.m. Thursday, law enforcement rangers encountered Fussner as he approached and fired on a service entrance to the Canyon Lodge dining facility. Several of the rangers shot at Fussner, and he died at the scene, according to the statement.

No other injuries were reported.

“Thanks to the heroic actions of our law enforcement rangers, many lives were saved here last Thursday,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said in the statement.

The FBI was investigating. Per National Park Service policy, law enforcement rangers involved in a shooting are placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, the statement said.

Park officials did not immediately comment Tuesday when asked if any Yellowstone law enforcement rangers had been placed on leave.

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