Gunman shot dead at Yellowstone National Park wanted to carry out July 4 mass shooting: officials

A worker who was shot dead by park rangers at Yellowstone National Park on July 4 morning had intended to carry out a mass shooting later that day, park officials have revealed. 

Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, 28, of Milton, Florida, died during an exchange of gunfire with rangers after he held a woman against her will at the park’s Canyon Village complex during the early hours of July 4.

The National Park Service (NPS) says that the woman told park rangers that Fussner threatened to kill her and others, including plans to allegedly carry out a mass shooting at July 4th events outside the park. Fussner was an employee of Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a private business authorized to operate in Yellowstone.



Yellowstone National Park is the world’s first national park and for a great reason. You can explore the mountains, view wildlife, and embrace the beauty of the natural world. Pictured is a sign at the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.   (DEA/W. BUSS/De Agostini via Getty Images)

More than 20 NPS law enforcement rangers, including the park’s special response team, found Fussner at around 8 a.m. near Canyon Lodge, which houses employees and public dining rooms – and was occupied by 200 people at the time. The complex is located in northwestern Wyoming and is popular for tourists visiting the historic park.

Fussner reportedly walked toward the service entrance of the facility while firing a semi-automatic rifle before several law enforcement rangers engaged him.

An entrance sign for Yellowstone National Park

Entrance sign along U.S. Highway 212 at the northeast entrance into Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, The northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park is on US Highway 212 a few miles west of Cooke City Montana as one crosses into Wyoming.  (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

During the shootout, Fussner was shot and killed by law enforcement rangers.

In addition, one law enforcement ranger was shot in a lower extremity and was transported to hospital and has since been released. 


“Thanks to the heroic actions of our law enforcement rangers, many lives were saved here last Thursday,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said in the statement.

“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. 

The FBI is leading the investigation with support from NPS special agents.  


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