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Milton man threatened mass shooting, shot into dining facility at Yellowstone National Park

A Milton man accused of holding a woman against her will and threatening a mass shooting died in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement at Yellowstone National Park on the Fourth of July.

The park posted on its social media pages that Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, 28, of Milton, Florida was identified as the suspect in the incident. Law enforcement confronted Fussner after he shot a semi-automatic rifle toward a dining facility at Canyon Village in the central part of the park, according to a press release from Yellowstone National Park.

Just after midnight on July 4, Yellowstone’s 911 dispatch center received a report that a woman had been held against her will by a man, later identified as Fussner, at a residence in Canyon Village. She also told law enforcement rangers that Fussner threatened to kill her and others, including plans to allegedly carry out a mass shooting at July 4 events outside the park.

Responding law enforcement rangers located Fussner’s vehicle unoccupied in the Canyon area. The preliminary investigation indicated Fussner was likely armed and dangerous.

With the individual at large, law enforcement rangers were strategically deployed to protect areas with park visitors and employees while searching for Fussner, and the park’s 911 dispatch center notified surrounding jurisdictions. By the early hours of July 4, over 20 NPS law enforcement rangers, including the park’s special response team, were working to protect people and locate Fussner.

At approximately 8 a.m., law enforcement rangers posted near Canyon Lodge, which houses employee and public dining rooms, encountered Fussner. Fussner reportedly walked toward the service entrance of the facility while firing a semi-automatic rifle. The building was occupied by approximately 200 people at the time. Several law enforcement rangers engaged Fussner. During an exchange of gunfire, Fussner was shot by law enforcement rangers.

In addition, one law enforcement ranger was shot in a lower extremity. Additional rangers with emergency medical training rendered aid to both the injured law enforcement ranger and Fussner. Fussner died at the scene. The injured law enforcement ranger was transported to an area hospital in stable condition and has since been released. No other physical injuries were reported.

Fussner was an employee of Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a private business authorized to operate in Yellowstone.

The FBI, with support from the NPS, Xanterra and other partners, is providing victim/witness support to anyone who was involved in the incident.

NPS policy for a law enforcement involved shooting calls for involved law enforcement rangers to be placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation of the incident. Consistent with Department of the Interior and NPS policies, the NPS will release available body worn camera footage of the incident within 30 days.

“Thanks to the heroic actions of our law enforcement rangers, many lives were saved here last Thursday,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “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. We appreciate the support of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and many other partners as we continue to manage through the aftermath of this incident.”

The investigation into this incident, including the actions of the National Park Service (NPS) law enforcement rangers, is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and will be reviewed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming.

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The Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners spent over an hour on June 24 arguing about a resolution regarding illegal immigration. It was an hour of commissioners’ time they can never get back. It was an hour of our life we will never get back. It was an hour of time when nothing was being done for the citizens of Santa Rosa County.

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