MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) - The Iraq war veteran being sought in connection with the slaying of a Mount Rainier National park ranger may have headed to the remote wilderness area to "hide out" after an earlier shooting near Seattle.
Authorities say Benjamin Colton Barnes, a 24-year-old believed to have survivalist skills, was a person of interest in the Sunday morning killing of Margaret Anderson.
Police have said he's also a suspect in a 3 a.m. shooting at a house party in Skyway, Wash., that left four people wounded. Parks spokesman Kevin Bacher said the speculation is that Barnes came to the park to get away.
Bacher wouldn't guess whether Barnes survived the night in snowy, cold conditions as officers tried to track him down. He said with the proper gear and training, it was possible.
Park visitors evacuated
Earlier Monday, about 125 people have been evacuated from the visitors center at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington as authorities search for a gunman suspected of killing a park ranger.
Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer says the visitors were transferred from the park overnight in groups of vehicles over the span of a few hours.
He says teams looking for the suspect were assessing new tactical plans that they planned to put into place at daylight. About 150 officers converged on the park after Anderson was shot to death Sunday morning.