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Fourth of July shooting in Yellowstone sparks fear among campers

Fourth of July shooting in Yellowstone sparks fear among campers

This article is about a developing story. Check back with us often as we will add more information as it becomes available.

Summary

  • Tragedy struck in Yellowstone Park when gunman Samson Fussner, a Xanterra employee, was involved in a shootout with park rangers.
  • Fussner, who was holding a woman hostage, threatened “suicide by cop” during the confrontation in Canyon Village.
  • Park visitors thought the 100 shots were fireworks; the FBI’s investigation is ongoing, but a motive is not yet known.



On July 4, tragedy struck in Yellowstone National Park when a gunman identified by Park County Coroner Cody Gortmaker as Samson Lucas Fussner, 28, Florida, opened fire on park rangers after Fussner threatened to “blow up fireworks somewhere in West Yellowstone or Montana,” according to a BOLO message from the national park’s communications center.

Fussner was employed by Xanterra Travel Collection, a company that manages lodging and concessions in Yellowstone Park. In the time leading up to the shootout between the suspect and park rangers, Fussner held a woman hostage at gunpoint, whose identity has not yet been confirmed. During the altercation, Fussner threatened “suicide by cop” in an exchange that began late Wednesday night and continued into early Thursday morning.


The sign for Canyon Village outside Yellowstone National Park
Shutterstock

The sign for Canyon Village outside Yellowstone National Park

The shooting occurred in Canyon Village, where park rangers were dispatched after the suspect was confirmed to be carrying a handgun and possibly two larger weapons. Fussner was fatally wounded in the shooting, and a park ranger also sustained injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital. At the time of this writing, the park ranger is in stable condition.

According to Cowboy State Daily, park visitors heard about 100 gunshots, which were initially thought to be fireworks given the date. Xanterra issued a statement saying:

“We are taking this step out of respect and care for our employees. We know this is extremely inconvenient and we are very sorry.”


Canyon Village and Canyon Campground were closed and reopened on Monday, July 8. Since then, no further statements have been made by Xanterra or Yellowstone National Park – including about the motive that sparked the fatal shooting – and the FBI investigation is ongoing.


This article is about a developing story. Check back with us often as we will add more information as it becomes available.