yellowstone shooting
Law enforcement rangers searching the Canyon Lodge area during the July 4 shooting. Credit: NPS Ranger News/Facebook

Yellowstone Gunman Allegedly Threatened Mass Shooting

Federal authorities revealed what happened leading up to the deadly shooting at Yellowstone National Park during the July 4 holiday.

Federal authorities revealed what happened leading up to the deadly shooting at Yellowstone National Park during the July 4 holiday. According to Tuesday's news release, a law enforcement ranger confronted the suspect, Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, after he pointed a gun at a woman and allegedly threatened a mass shooting.

"Thanks to the heroic actions of our law enforcement rangers, many lives were saved here last Thursday," said Cam Sholly, Yellowstone's superintendent. He explained that rangers took decisive action to subdue the public safety threat.

What led to the Yellowstone shooting


Park rangers in tactical gear patrolling a staff residence in Yellowstone National Park. Credit: NPS Ranger News/Facebook

According to the release, Yellowstone's 911 dispatch center received a call just before midnight from a woman saying Fussner had held her at gunpoint in an apartment at staff housing in Canyon Village. She told the dispatcher that Fussner threatened to kill her and said he planned to carry out a mass shooting at July 4th events outside of the park.

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Law enforcement rangers responded to the Canyon area and located Fussner's car. Knowing he was likely armed, rangers created a perimeter around the area. About 20 rangers on a special response team began searching for him. Then, rangers posted near Canyon Lodge encountered Fussner around 8 a.m.

Officials say Fussner opened fire at the rangers using a semi-automatic rifle near a dining area. At the time, about 200 people occupied the building. Several rangers returned fire. During the exchange, Fussner shot one ranger in a lower extremity and then he was killed. Afterward, authorities transported the injured ranger to a nearby hospital. He was treated and has since been released. No other injuries were reported.

What else do we know about the shooting

Lucas Fussner

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

On Monday, the Parks County Coroner's Office identified Fussner as the suspect killed in the shootout. The office described him as a 28-year-old from Milton, Florida. Additionally, Fussner posted an image on Facebook showing his Yellowstone work badge. In the release, authorities confirmed that Fussner was an employee of Xanterra Parks and Resorts, one of the many contractors that operate in Yellowstone.

Ahead of the release, the social media channel NPS Ranger News shared an audio recording of a Park County dispatcher sharing a be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) alert to police in the area, relaying many of the same details. In addition to a mass shooting, the BOLO alert said Fussner allegedly threatened "suicide by cop."

Witnesses told local media that they had heard about 100 gunshots during the time of the event. At first, they thought the noise was fireworks, but a short time later, they received a cell phone alert that the shooting was over. They said they never received an alert about a threat before that.

What happens next

According to the release, investigators with the National Park Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are still investigating the incident. Also, the case will be reviewed by the U.S. Attorney's Office before it's concluded. Officials also said Department of Interior policy requires them to release body camera video within 30 days of the incident.