Iraq War Veteran Suspected in Shooting Death of Mt. Rainier Ranger …Update: Found Dead

Benjamin Colton Barnes is a “strong person of interest” in the shooting of park ranger Magaret Anderson at Mount Rainier on Sunday. (Chicago Tribune)

Iraq War veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes is a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012.

A man who was being sought in the shooting of four people at a New Year’s party in South King County early Sunday is suspected in the fatal shooting of a park ranger in Mount Rainier National Park later in the morning.

Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, a mother of two who was married to another ranger at the park, was shot about 10:30 a.m. after setting up a roadblock to stop a car that was fleeing another officer.

She was shot when the driver apparently stepped out of the vehicle with a shotgun and opened fire. It took authorities nearly 90 minutes to get to her because the assailant continued to fire an assault rifle at Pierce County SWAT team officers as they tried to assist the injured ranger, officials said.

Anderson was the first park ranger shot and killed in the line of duty at Mount Rainier.

Nearly eight hours earlier, King County sheriff’s deputies responded to shots fired at a party in Skyway, where an early-morning session of “show and tell” with guns among several armed partygoers devolved into a shootout, according to detectives.

Four people were shot, and three people fled the scene. One of them was identified as Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24.

UPDATE: Barnes was found dead in a ditch near his vehicle.

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