MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. — A Mount Rainier National Park ranger was fatally shot Sunday following a New Year’s Day traffic stop, and the 368-square-mile park in Washington state was closed as dozens of officers searched for the armed gunman over snowy and rugged terrain.
Authorities believed the gunman was still in the woods with an assault rifle. They asked people to stay away from the park, and for those already inside to leave, but Ed Troyer, a Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman, said there were about 100 people hunkered down in lodges and cabins on the mountain. They were asked to stay put because they could be in the line of fire.
Troyer also said it appeared there were still visitors hiking on the mountain who could not be reached and were not aware of what was going on.
The ranger was identified as 34-year-old Margaret Anderson. At around 10:20 a.m. Sunday, another park service employee had tried to stop a man in his vehicle. He didn’t stop, so Anderson set up a road block with her vehicle in the middle of the road, said park spokeswoman Lee Taylor. The man pulled up to Anderson about 11 a.m., jumped out, fired and ran off, she said.
Troyer said when authorities arrived they were also shot at, but no one else was hit. About 150 officers were on the mountain, but they had not made contact with the gunman and did not know where he was, Troyer said.