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Mount Rainier park reopens after deadly shooting

By Dana Ford, CNN
updated 10:53 AM EST, Sun January 8, 2012
"This tragedy has pretty much affected every employee at the park," said Mount Rainier National Park spokesman Charles Beall.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "It hurt to open the park up again," says park spokesman Kevin Bacher
  • Margaret Anderson, the mother of two young girls, was shot Sunday
  • Her suspected killer was found dead
  • A memorial service for Anderson will be held next week

(CNN) -- Mount Rainier National Park reopened to the public Saturday for the first time since Ranger Margaret Anderson was shot to death on New Year's Day.

All services at the park were available expect for "snowplay." Anderson was the direct supervisor of the rangers there, and many on that crew -- and elsewhere in the park -- needed more time before returning to work, said park spokesman Charles Beall.

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"This tragedy has pretty much affected every employee at the park," he said.

Authorities believe Anderson, 34, was killed by Benjamin Colton Barnes, a former soldier whose body was found face down in a creek, not far from where he allegedly shot Anderson.

Investigators say Barnes shot the ranger after he blew through a checkpoint set up to check vehicles to make sure they had the proper winter gear necessary to travel the park.

Anderson and another ranger had set up a second roadblock to stop him when he jumped out of the car and opened fire. She was struck before she was able to get out of her vehicle, authorities said.

Anderson was the first Rainier park employee to be a homicide victim. The last ranger fatalities reported at the park were in 1995 when two climbing rangers died during a rescue.

Areas within the park have been set up to celebrate Anderson's life and provide a space for staff and visitors to leave condolences and flowers. She was the mother of two young girls.

"It hurt to open the park up again," park spokesman Kevin Bacher told CNN affiliate KOMO in Seattle. "It's part of letting go of Margaret. It's part of our grieving."

A memorial service for Anderson is planned for Tuesday at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

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