Lucas Fussner
The ID card of Samson Fussner, the suspect killed in a July 4 shootout with Yellowstone park rangers. Credit: Lucas Fussner/Facebook

Suspect in Yellowstone Shooting Identified and Allegedly Wanted 'Suicide by Cop'

Wyoming authorities revealed the name of the Yellowstone shooting suspect who was killed by police on July 4.

Wyoming authorities revealed the name of the Yellowstone shooting suspect killed on July 4. According to Monday's announcement by the Park County Coroner's Office, the suspect was Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, a 28-year-old from Milton, Florida.

Besides identifying the name of the suspect, authorities including the National Park Service and the FBI remain tight-lipped about the matter as the incident is still under investigation. What they have revealed though is that Yellowstone park rangers responded to a report of Fussner threatening others with a firearm at staff housing. When a ranger confronted him about it, a shootout occurred, which resulted in Fussner dead and the ranger injured.

News report details the Yellowstone shooting

The social media channel NPS Ranger News, which focuses on national park law enforcement operations, shared an audio recording of a be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) alert discussing Fussner hours ahead of the shooting. In the recording, a Park County dispatcher describes Fussner as having held a female hostage at gunpoint and threatened "suicide by cop." He also "threatened to shoot up a fireworks show somewhere in West Yellowstone or Montana."

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According to his Facebook profile, Fussner was a contractor with Xanterra Travel Collection, a resort and entertainment company that operates within Yellowstone. An image of Fussner's work badge identifying as such seemingly confirms the detail. Additionally, the Cowboy State Daily reported that it received a leaked email from Xanterra urging staff to not talk to the reporters or discuss the incident on social media.

On Xanterra's website, the company published an announcement telling patrons that Yellowstone's Canyon Lodge, where the shooting happened, was closed due to "a major law enforcement incident." However, the campgrounds will reopen on July 8.

The newspaper also reported that park visitors said they heard about 100 gunshots in the area. At first, they mistook the shots for fireworks but then received a notification on their cell phones advising that the shooting was over (they never sent one saying the shooting had started).

According to NPS Ranger News, the July 4 shooting was the 120th officer-involved shooting in national park history. Still, violent deaths through homicide are relatively low when compared to other causes at national park sites. Out of the 2,149 deaths in national parks between the years 2014 and 2019, homicide contributed only 25. However, suicide contributed 381 deaths.