911 tapes released from Mt. Rainier ranger shooting

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on January 6, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 6 at 7:01 PM

MOUNT RAINIER, Wash. -- 911 calls reveal the shooting that killed a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park this week was not only a tragedy but a logistical nightmare.

The first 911 call was made by another ranger shortly after 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, January 1, just moments after ranger Margaret Anderson was shot.

Caller: "Hey… I've got a big problem."
Dispatcher: "OK. What's going on?
Caller: "We've got a shooting incident up at Mount Rainier National Park at Paradise. We tried to do a felony stop and we've got one individual armed with a rifle."
Dispatcher: "You don't have a description of him?"
Caller: "No. He wouldn't stop."

Not having a description of the alleged shooter, Benjamin Barnes, was one of many issues for police. Deputies were more than 30 minutes from the scene, conditions were icy at the mountain and cell phones don't work at that location. Recordings show it was more than an hour before help got to the scene. And when they did, around 12:00 p.m., there was more gunfire.

Nearly 90 minutes after the shooting, deputies were able to reach Anderson's body, confirming she was dead.

Barnes was found dead from drowning and hypothermia about 24 hours later.

Mount Rainier National Park reopens Saturday. Officials at the park plan to set up a location in Longmire for visitors bringing flowers.

A candlelight vigil for Anderson is on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Early Learning Center in Eatonville.

Anderson's public memorial will be held on Tuesday at Pacific Lutheran University at 1:00 p.m.

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