To know this special person made the decision to protect those up in Paradise is commendable and we must remember the sacrifices she made every day. We send our love, and sincere condolences to her family, those in Law Enforcement, the National Park Services, and the communities she served in.
The incident unfolded like this,
On January 1, 2012, a lone individual drove into the Mount Rainier National Park and began heading up a narrow winding road toward the Paradise rec stop, which is at the 6,000-foot elevation on Mount Rainier. Paradise is a well-known hub of activity, and hundreds of people would be in the area at that time.
Unbeknownst to the U.S. Park Rangers on duty, this individual had been involved in a New Year’s Eve shooting at a party in a suburb of Seattle. Due to the inclement weather, partway up the mount, a checkpoint had been set up by the Rangers to require drivers to install snow chains on their vehicles, which is standard practice when road conditions on the mount become dangerously slick from ice and snow.
When the individual failed to stop at the chain control checkpoint, U.S. Park Ranger Daniel Camiccia followed him up the mountain in his patrol vehicle to attempt to stop him. The driver ignored the emergency lights and siren of the patrol vehicle behind him and continued at a relatively slow speed up the mountain.
U.S. Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, who was the sole Ranger at Paradise, was notified by Ranger Camiccia that the vehicle would not pull over. She immediately advised her crew that she would need to assist in stopping the vehicle, notified staff at Paradise to secure their positions, and headed down the mountain towards the approaching vehicle.
Ranger Anderson understood that because of the unknown intentions of the individual and the fact that he was not stopping for Rangers, it was critical for her to stop the vehicle before it reached the crowded Paradise area. She decided to try stopping the vehicle at Barn Flats, approximately one-half mile below Paradise.
When Ranger Anderson observed the suspect’s vehicle approach her location, she maneuvered her vehicle to prevent him from continuing toward Paradise. The suspect immediately exited his vehicle and took up a shooting stance with an AR-15 assault rifle aimed directly at her. Before Ranger Anderson could get a radio call out, the suspect fired at her multiple times, and despite her attempts to get into a better defensive position with her vehicle, she was mortally wounded.
Ranger Anderson attempted to escape by driving her vehicle back up the road away from the gunman but ultimately succumbed to her injuries, with her vehicle coming to rest against a snow bank. In the meantime, Ranger Camiccia arrived on the scene and was immediately fired upon by the suspect, with several rounds striking his vehicle.
The gunman fled into the snow-covered mountainside on foot. Numerous firearms, ammunition, and a ballistic vest were later found in his vehicle. This incident prompted a massive response and an extensive manhunt through the Mount Rainier wilderness by U.S. Park Rangers and area law enforcement personnel. Civilian personnel in the area were either evacuated or forced to shelter in place. The suspect was eventually located a day later, deceased from exposure to the elements.
Never Forgotten | Ranger Anderson acted courageously, making the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect the lives of numerous visitors and staff in the Paradise area.
Award Presentation | In April 2016, the Office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, delivered the CBOB for fallen U.S. Ranger Margaret Anderson, to her surviving spouse, Eric Anderson, Structure Fire Training Specialist, National Park Service.
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance – https://bja.ojp.gov/program/badgeofbravery/recipients/2012/margaret-anderson
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