WESTFIELD, NJ - The national park ranger fatally shot in Mount Rainier National Park yesterday is a native of Westfield.
Margaret Anderson, 34, was shot when she blocked the path of the suspect, 24-year-old Benjamin Colton Barnes. Authorities say Barnes entered the park Sunday morning and sped past a checkpoint. When Anderson attempted to block him, Barnes shot her. He has been on the run since then, although officials say they are closing in on him in the park, which is covered in snow that's chest-deep in some areas.
Barnes, an Iraqi war veteran, is said to have some survival skills, but the ground teams chasing him have snow equipment - including snow shoes - that he doesn't have.
Anderson was the married mother of two young children.
Assembly Republican Conference Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Essex, Morris and Somerset, issued the following statement in response to Anderson's death:
“Ranger Margaret Anderson made the ultimate sacrifice yesterday while stopping an armed gunman in Mount Rainier National Park. Ranger Anderson’s selfless actions protected the lives of families vacationing in the park on New Years Day. The thoughts and prayers of the Westfield community and the State of New Jersey are with Margaret’s husband and two young children.'