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Officials say gunman at Yellowstone had plans to carry out July 4 mass shootings

The shooter was killed during an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement rangers at the park.
Yellowstone National Park
Posted at 11:41 AM, Jul 10, 2024

Officials say the gunman killed in an exchange of gunfire with Yellowstone National Park law enforcement rangers on July 4 had plans to carry out mass shootings that day.

Authorities were alerted of the suspect when a call came into Yellowstone’s 911 dispatch center just after midnight on July 4. A woman said she was held against her will by a man with a gun outside a home at Canyon Village.

The woman also shared the threats made by the suspect, identified by authorities as Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner.

She “reported to law enforcement rangers that Fussner threatened to kill her and others, including plans to allegedly carry out a mass shooting(s) at July 4th events outside the park,” said a press release from Yellowstone National Park.

Law enforcement rangers located his unoccupied vehicle and a search began for the suspect. Rangers had been deployed in the area to protect park visitors and employees.

At around 8 a.m. on July 4, law enforcement located the suspect. He had been shooting a semi-automatic rifle toward a dining facility at Canyon Village. That’s when an exchange of gunfire ensued, leading to his death.

A law enforcement ranger had been shot in a lower extremity during the exchange. He was transported to the hospital in stable condition and has since been released, the park said.

Fussner, 28, of Milton, Florida, was an employee of Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which is a private business operating in the park.

"Thanks to the heroic actions of our law enforcement rangers, many lives were saved here last Thursday," said Superintendent Cam Sholly, in a press release.

"These rangers immediately confronted this shooter and took decisive action to ensure he was no longer a threat to public safety. We are working now to provide maximum support to those involved and their families. We appreciate the support of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and many other partners as we continue to manage through the aftermath of this incident," Sholly said.

An investigation remains ongoing.