Florida Man Identified in Fatal Yellowstone July Fourth Shooting

(Photo/NPS)

The identity of the man who was killed after opening fire on Yellowstone National Park law enforcement rangers on July 4 has been released. Twenty-four-year-old Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner of Florida was reported by witnesses after he was seen at the popular visitor area known as Canyon Village, wielding a firearm and making threats.

According to the Cowboy State Daily, Fussner worked for Xanterra, a park management contractor employed by Yellowstone. However, it remains unclear if he was employed by Xanterra at the time of his death.

The July 4 incident started on the night of July 3, the National Park Service (NPS) said. Rangers responded after receiving reports about Fussner’s threatening behavior. According to the report, the situation escalated when they approached Fussner, and exchanged gunfire.

Witnesses reported hearing as many as 100 gunshots sometime around 8 a.m. Bystanders interviewed by KBZK Bozeman described people hiding in buildings, closets, and storage rooms.

Canyon Village is a staffed area that has guest lodging, food, and a store. It is in the central-eastern part of the park and is one of its most visited tourist spots, especially on the July Fourth weekend, which is historically one of the busiest times of the year.

The complex has been closed for the investigation, which the FBI is leading with support from National Park Service special agents. 

Yellowstone Shooter Cause of Death, Employment History

shooter yellowstone national park shootout
(Photo/Facebook)

The Cowboy State Daily reported that the Park County dispatcher put out a notice Fussner “held a female hostage by gunpoint and threatened suicide by cop.” According to the coroner’s report, he died from multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by at least one park ranger.

Fussner’s Facebook profile picture was his Xanterra Yellowstone identification card. It confirmed that his employment agreement extended through September 5, 2024 — though it is still unclear whether he was still actively employed.

An email purportedly leaked to the Cowboy State Daily claimed that Xanterra encouraged its employees to remain silent following Fussner’s death.

Shootings at National Parks are rare, but not unprecedented. In 2021a gunman shot at park rangers at Everglades National Park with an AK-47 after he’d been arrested for domestic abuse and threatening to kill his wife. The suspect, 37-year-old Drew C. Sikes, died in federal custody.

Homicides remain the least reported cause of death in national parks, accounting for just 1% of park deaths, according to NPS data from 2007 to 2023.

For more updates and news from Yellowstone National Park, visit its NPS webpage. We’ll update this story as further information becomes available.

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