MOUNT RAINIER, Wash. - A man who was suspected in the killing of Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson on Sunday morning was found dead on Monday.
The body of Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, was found above Narada Falls.
"The body was found in a river," Det. Sgt. Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept. said.
“He appears to have not been the victim of any type of violence other than the weather,” said Troyer.
"He put himself into a position where he wasn't going to get out of," said Troyer. "They had containment on both ends of the valley. If he was still moving he wasn't going to get out."
Troyer said the suspect was not equipped for the conditions.
"He was wearing a t-shirt, a pair of jeans and one tennis shoe," he said.
Troyer said a couple of weapons were found near Barnes' body and recovered.
About 200 personnel from several law enforcement agencies were involved in the search for Barnes.
Park Ranger Kevin Bacher said that Barnes would have had to travel 6 to 10 miles on foot through higher elevations and deep snow to get back out to any populated areas. At several points in a Monday morning press conference, Bacher said police and rangers would be happy if Mother Nature was able to deal with Barnes so the suspect would not be able to do any more harm.
“I’m very thankful that this person has been located," Park Superintendent Randy King said Monday afternoon. "When this person was at large the park was not safe.”
The search effort on Monday involved personnel on the ground and in the air, Bacher said. Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters with infrared will be used, as well as K-9 units on the ground.
Ranger Anderson was shot shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday near Longmire Ranger Station. Bacher said the shooter "blew through" a roadblock between Longmire and Paradise. The roadblock was set up to check cars entering the park for proper tires and tire chains.
When the driver did not stop, the rangers at the checkpoint radioed for assistance. Anderson established a roadblock to stop the car about a mile below Paradise.
When the driver encountered Anderson's roadblock, he exited his car and began firing on Anderson and another ranger, Dan Camiccia.
Anderson was struck while still insider her car.
"If I were sitting in that car or anyone here, we'd be dead. There's nothing she could have done. There's no speculating on that," said Troyer. "Nobody was going to win that gunfight."
Anderson radioed for help as the suspect fled on foot.
Barnes continued shooting at law enforcement as they arrived.
Barnes was also a suspect in a New Year's Eve shooting in Skyway.
Barnes, an Iraq war veteran, reportedly had a troubled transition to civilian life, with accusations he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is suicidal.
He was involved in a custody dispute in Tacoma in July, during which his toddler daughter's mother sought a temporary restraining order against him, according to court documents.
The woman told authorities he was suicidal and possibly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after deploying to Iraq in 2007-2008, and had once sent her a text message saying "I want to die."
She alleged that he gets easily irritated, angry and depressed and keeps an arsenal of weapons in his home. She wrote that she feared for the child's safety.
Undated photos provided by police showed a shirtless, tattooed Barnes brandishing two weapons, a large rifle and a smaller firearm with a large clip.
In November 2011, a guardian ad litem recommended parenting and communication classes for both parents and recommending Barnes be allowed to continue supervised visits with the child, two days a week.
That visitation schedule was to continue until he completed a domestic violence evaluation and mental health evaluation and complied with all treatment recommendations.