Heroic Rangers Thwart Potential Mass Shooting in Yellowstone on Independence Day

Yellowstone National Park, WY — A tragic incident unfolded early on July 4 at Yellowstone National Park where a shooter, later identified as 28-year-old Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner of Milton, Florida, engaged in a deadly exchange of gunfire with park rangers after allegedly holding a woman captive. The confrontation resulted in Fussner’s death and left a park ranger injured, triggering a broader investigation led by the FBI.

Authorities revealed that the harrowing series of events began shortly after midnight when a distress call was made to Yellowstone’s 911 dispatch center. A woman reported being held against her will by an armed Fussner who, she claimed, not only threatened her life but also expressed intentions of committing mass violence at July 4 celebrations outside the park.

The alarming threat led to an immediate response from park law enforcement. They discovered Fussner’s unoccupied vehicle in the Canyon area, a relatively secluded part of the park dotted with lodges and cabins, which escalated concerns regarding his potential actions and whereabouts.

In a statement, the U.S. National Park Service detailed the responsive actions undertaken: “With Fussner at large, law enforcement rangers were strategically deployed to protect park visitors and employees.” As dawn broke, the ranger team, which had swollen to over twenty members, coordinated efforts to locate Fussner while ensuring the safety of hundreds within the park’s boundaries.

The search concluded when Fussner, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, was spotted near the Canyon Lodge dining facility around 8 a.m. As he approached the service entrance, he opened fire, prompting a critical response from stationed rangers. Officials stated that approximately 200 people were inside at the time, none of whom were harmed thanks to the rangers’ quick action. Fussner was shot and died at the scene.

Park Superintendent Cam Sholly later commended the rangers for their decisive actions. “The heroic actions of our law enforcement rangers saved many lives,” Sholly stated. “These rangers confronted the shooter immediately, neutralizing the threat to ensure public safety,” he added.

Fussner had been employed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a company authorized to operate within Yellowstone. Following the incident, the involved rangers were placed on administrative leave, a standard procedure pending further investigation.

The ongoing investigation is headed by the FBI, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming. The National Park Service also confirmed their cooperation with federal authorities to provide support for victims and witnesses, indicating that body-worn camera footage from the incident would be made public within 30 days as part of the investigative transparency.

As the community struggles to comprehend the violence that marred their national holiday, efforts are underway to strengthen support for those impacted, reinforcing the park’s commitment to safety and care for both visitors and residents alike.