Heroic Yellowstone Rangers Thwart Planned Mass Shooting, Suspect Neutralized in Early Morning Gunfire Exchange

Yellowstone National Park, WY — A tragic incident unfolded at Yellowstone National Park on July 4, when a gunman, later identified as Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, opened fire, injuring a park ranger. Early reports indicate that prior to the shooting, Fussner had confined a woman and made threats of violence against her and others, anticipating a broader attack on holiday events outside the park.

Local authorities detailed that the confrontation culminated in Fussner’s death following an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement at Canyon Village, a relatively remote part of the park filled with lodges and cabins north of Yellowstone Lake. This area lies distant from the park’s most frequented tourist spots, which perhaps mitigated a greater escalation of violence.

The initial distress call was received just after midnight by Yellowstone’s 911 dispatch center, alerting rangers to the situation involving a woman held against her will. This early intervention helped law enforcement prepare for the altercation that occurred later in the morning.

Fussier’s vehicle was soon found unoccupied by rangers in the Canyon area, leading to an immediate assessment of him being armed and dangerous. The park service acted swiftly, deploying rangers throughout the park to secure areas populated with visitors and staff, while also alerting neighboring jurisdictions of the potential threat.

As dawn broke over the park, additional rangers joined the effort, totaling over twenty personnel actively searching for Fussner and ensuring the safety of park guests. By around 8 a.m., the situation escalated at the Canyon Lodge dining facility where Fussner, wielding a semi-automatic rifle, approached and began to open fire. Inside, approximately 200 people were present as rangers confronted and engaged Fussner, who was subsequently shot and killed in the gunfire.

Employed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a business authorized to operate within Yellowstone, Fussner was a resident of Milton, Florida. The circumstances surrounding his employment and his presence in the park are still under investigation.

The FBI has taken the lead on the ongoing investigation, collaborating closely with the National Park Service. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming is also involved, reviewing the details of the incident. Comprehensive support is being organized for the victims and witnesses, highlighting the critical need for resources in the wake of such events.

In line with standard procedure, the responding rangers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Further ensuring transparency, body-worn camera footage from the incident is expected to be released, providing clearer insights into the exact proceedings of that morning.

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly commended the rangers for their rapid response, stating, “Thanks to the heroic actions of our law enforcement rangers, many lives were saved. Their quick intervention effectively neutralized the threat posed by the gunman, preventing a potentially much more tragic outcome.” He pointed out that efforts are now focused on supporting all those affected directly and indirectly by the incident.

This harrowing event underscores the unpredictable nature of threats in even the most serene settings, demonstrating the critical role of prepared training and rapid response in safeguarding public safety in national parks.