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Don't mess with Oregon State Park Rangers!

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  • Don't mess with Oregon State Park Rangers!

    Violence shatters Crater Lake calm
    A park ranger fatally shoots a man who had threatened to kill officers after disrupting a campground
    Friday, July 29, 2005
    LARRY BINGHAM
    and MATTHEW PREUSCH

    A ranger at Crater Lake National Park shot and killed an unruly camper late Wednesday during a rare episode of violence at one of the nation's most treasured natural sites. The shooting, which followed a domestic dispute, happened at a nearly full campground during the park's busiest time of year.

    The man waved a club and threatened to kill rangers after they were called to his camper following an argument with a woman that could be heard throughout the campground. Park officials declined Thursday to name the man, saying they had not yet notified his family. He died at the scene.

    "This is a very unusual event," said Michael Justin, assistant public information officer for Oregon's only national park. "It goes without saying, obviously, you have folks come to the park with these issues, but generally speaking, our visitors come with a pleasant state of mind. They come for rest and relaxation and to enjoy the beauty of nature."

    Park officials said they would not identify the rangers during the investigation. Rangers trained to investigate such incidents were en route to the park from Olympic and Yosemite national parks and will work closely with the Oregon State Police.

    The shooting happened after 10 p.m. in Loop D of the Mazama campground, where 30 of the area's 35 campsites were occupied. The park has more than 220 campsites near the western entrance, and most are full during the summer tourist season.

    Park officials released few specifics about the shooting, but a family of six in the adjacent camping site said the argument between the man and woman escalated during the evening until the man's screams could be heard during a presentation at a nearby amphitheater. The screams were so disruptive that a camper asked a ranger to look into the disturbance.

    Park visitors attending the presentation, on the natural history of the lake, sang a campfire song that included shouting. The man began shouting back, according to neighboring camper Michelle Hughes of San Dimas, Calif. At one point, she said, the man screamed, "I am God!"

    Campers Denise and Brent Baldwin of Portland said they heard the man's screams but thought they were part of the amphitheater program.

    Rangers try to quiet man

    When the Hughes family returned to their campsite, two rangers were outside the man's trailer, trying to persuade him to calm down. According to Michelle Hughes, the rangers asked the man inside the trailer, "Do you want to go to jail?"

    Hughes said the man replied, "Do you want to die?"

    The man came out of the trailer waving a club. "I could see him moving with it held high like he was going to attack, and when that happened he was shot," she said.

    Justin, the park spokesman, confirmed that the two rangers tried to calm the man, but "he became increasingly hostile and very argumentative." He said the man threatened to kill the rangers.

    "As a consequence of that, there was a need by the officers to subdue the individual because of his erratic behavior and the brandishing of this club," Justin said. When the man came within 10 feet of the rangers, one shot him with pepper spray. But the man continued forward, and the second ranger fired his gun twice. An emergency medical team reported the man dead at the scene.

    After the shooting, Hughes and her husband packed up their four children, ages 4 to 16, and drove to a hotel to spend the night. They returned to their campsite Thursday and found yellow police tape roped around the man's Jeep Cherokee and camping trailer.

    California couple bought trailer

    The man's trailer was being searched Thursday. It was traced by The Oregonian to a Klamath Falls couple, who said they sold it two weeks ago to a young, unmarried California couple from the San Francisco Bay Area. The sellers, who asked not to be identified, said the couple paid in cash and had planned to travel and make and sell crafts.

    Park spokesman Mac Brock said the shooting was the first he had heard of in 12 years at Crater Lake. Specific information on the history of shootings in the park was not immediately available.

    "It's very rare that our law enforcement rangers or park police officers find themselves in a situation where they are being assaulted and where they have to find some measure of response to protect themselves, or other employees, or visitors." said Al Nash, spokesman for the Park Service headquartered in Washington, D.C.

    Before the Crater Lake shooting, the most recent fatal shooting by a ranger in a national park occurred Jan. 18, 2003, when Ranger Derek Anderson shot and killed Paul Anthony Nelms, 28, in Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park in the Washington, D.C., area. Anderson found Nelms, a suspect in a carjacking, at a boat ramp without a coat in freezing weather and approached him. They ended up in a struggle, and Anderson shot Nelms six times.

    National Park Service policy allows rangers and police to use deadly force only when faced with "imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the ranger or to another person."

    It's more dangerous to be a law enforcement officer for the Park Service than for the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Drug Enforcement Administration, federal statistics show. In 2003, the most recent year covered in FBI reports on attacks on law officers, 106 officers working for the Park Service were assaulted, compared with 24 each in the FBI and DEA.

    More than half the assaults on park rangers do not involve guns. Not all rangers work in positions where they are permitted to bear arms, but rangers whose jobs involve weapons undergo several weeks of academy-style training.

    "We have about 277 million visitors a year," Nash said, "so the fact that we have been averaging about 100 assaults a year on law enforcement personnel shows how really rare that type of thing is."
    Bill Cosby: Stewie, what do you think candy is made out of?
    Stewie Griffin: Sunshine and farts! What the hell kind of question is that?!

  • #2
    Looks like they acted appropriately. Tried to hit him with pepper spray, didn't work, so they used lethal force.

    Also, it was good to see that the paper didn't seem to portray the actions of the Rangers negatively. Though, perhaps the media is easier on Rangers than on Police Officers. (?)
    Bill Cosby: Stewie, what do you think candy is made out of?
    Stewie Griffin: Sunshine and farts! What the hell kind of question is that?!

    Comment


    • #3
      Better him than one of us...

      Comment


      • #4
        Now there' something you don't think will happen when you go camping in a state park...helluva thing.
        "We have enough youth, how about a fountain of smart?"

        Comment


        • #5
          What a swell guy subjecting his children to that.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Puget Sound
            At one point, she said, the man screamed, "I am God!"
            Incidents involving that rarely end well.
            Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Delta784
              Incidents involving that rarely end well.
              Hahaha, yeah, when I read that quote the first time I just cracked up. This guy must be pretty warped, that or I am for laughing at his insanity and subsequent death.
              Bill Cosby: Stewie, what do you think candy is made out of?
              Stewie Griffin: Sunshine and farts! What the hell kind of question is that?!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tennsix
                Better him than one of us...
                Amen to that.
                Still leading the team in PIMs, the fans are calling me a goon.
                --------------------
                This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a... car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am pretty sure that these rangers were federal...not state....and believe it or not a US Park Ranger is more likely to be assaulted than any other federal officer (I learned that in some LE course somewhere) They actually do more than keep Yogi out of the picnic baskets....glad to see these rangers were alright!!!!
                  "Thats a pretty cool sidearm you got there....What is it?"
                  "I don't know what its called, I just know the sound it makes when it takes a mans life"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gonefishin
                    I am pretty sure that these rangers were federal...not state....and believe it or not a US Park Ranger is more likely to be assaulted than any other federal officer (I learned that in some LE course somewhere) They actually do more than keep Yogi out of the picnic baskets....glad to see these rangers were alright!!!!
                    Yeah, you're right, they were Federal, not state. My mistake.

                    As for Rangers being assaulted more than other Feds, this was in the article toward the end:

                    "It's more dangerous to be a law enforcement officer for the Park Service than for the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Drug Enforcement Administration, federal statistics show. In 2003, the most recent year covered in FBI reports on attacks on law officers, 106 officers working for the Park Service were assaulted, compared with 24 each in the FBI and DEA."
                    Bill Cosby: Stewie, what do you think candy is made out of?
                    Stewie Griffin: Sunshine and farts! What the hell kind of question is that?!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      the man screamed, "I am God!"
                      ...guess he was wrong! lol
                      "He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still"

                      -Lao Tzu

                      "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

                      -Reinhold Niebuhr

                      Comment

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