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Xanterra employee from Florida identified as person who died in Yellowstone following a shootout with rangers

Crevice Mountain is located near the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Wilson Hui
Flickr Creative Commons
Crevice Mountain is located near the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The person who died in Yellowstone National Park on the Fourth of July during a shootout with law enforcement was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and held a woman against her will, according to the park.

The Park County Coroner’s Office has identified him as Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner of Milton, Florida.

The 28 year old was employed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a private business that operates a lodge, cabins and restaurants in Canyon Village where the incident took place.

“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 with a gun in a residence at Canyon Village. She also reported to law enforcement rangers that Fussner threatened to kill her and others, including plans to allegedly carry out a mass shooting(s) at July 4th events outside the park,” the park said in a press release.

A “be on the lookout” or BOLO alert read over Park County’s dispatch system around 2 A.M. described an armed and dangerous suspect driving a 2021 Nissan Rogue with Florida plates.

The BOLO said Fussner was last seen leaving Yellowstone National Park headed in an unknown direction, though he had mentioned West Yellowstone and officers believed he might have been headed to Cody.

“Looks like he held a female hostage at gunpoint and threatened suicide by cop,” an officer read in a recording obtained via Broadcastify. “As far as this BOLO is concerned, he's alone.”

Fussner also threatened to shoot up a fireworks show somewhere in West Yellowstone or Montana, according to the call.

“He is believed to have a pistol and possibly other larger weapons in his possession, as well as a knife,” the officer read.

Park rangers located Fussner’s vehicle unoccupied in the Canyon area and began a search. More law enforcement rangers were deployed to protect park visitors and employees. More than 20 National Park Service (NPS) law enforcement rangers, including the park’s special response team, were on site.

“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 park said.

More than 200 people were in the building.

Several rangers engaged Fussner and shot him during an exchange of gunfire, according to the park. One ranger was shot in a lower extremity. Rangers with medical training offered aid to both. Fussner died at the scene. The ranger was transported to an area hospital in stable condition and has been released.

“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,” the park said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is leading an investigation, with help from the NPS and local offices. Their findings will be reviewed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming.

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

Nicky has reported and edited for public radio stations in Montana and produced episodes for NPR's The Indicator podcast and Apple News In Conversation. Her award-winning series, SubSurface, dug into the economic, environmental and social impacts of a potential invasion of freshwater mussels in Montana's waterbodies. She traded New Hampshire's relatively short but rugged White Mountains for the Rockies over a decade ago. The skiing here is much better.

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