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Authorities suspect ‘devastating’ attack averted after heavily armed man found dead at amusement park

The sheriff’s office said the man was wearing “tactical clothing, bearing patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement”

Amusement Park Dead Suspect

FILE - People ride the Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., June 10, 2011. A heavily armed man killed himself rather than carry out an apparent plan to shoot up the mountaintop amusement park in Colorado, authorities said Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. (Christopher Tomlinson/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via AP, File)

Christopher Tomlinson/AP

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — The body of a heavily armed man was found by staff at a Colorado adventure park, and investigators suspect “an attack of devastating proportions” was in the makings, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

The discovery was made Saturday, Oct. 28, at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. Glenwood Springs is in the Rocky Mountains, about 160 miles west of Denver.

“While the investigation is still ongoing and very active it is important to realize that given the amount of weaponry, ammunition and explosive devices found, the suspect could have implemented an attack of devastating proportions upon our community and first responders,” the sheriff’s office said.

The man’s identity and cause of death have not been released. He was 22 years old and lived in the Carbondale area, about 13 miles south of Glenwood Springs, officials said in an update.

His body was discovered before the park opened and it is believed he slipped in after hours when employees weren’t present, officials said.

“He dressed in black colored tactical clothing, bearing patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement,” the sheriff’s office said in an Oct. 30 update.

“The suspect had been heavily armed with a semi-automatic rifle and semi-automatic handgun and multiple loaded, magazines for both weapons. He was wearing body armor and what appeared to be a ballistic helmet. Additionally multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were discovered with the suspect.”

A vehicle believed to have been driven by the man was found at the scene and also held explosives, officials said.

The park grounds were swept by a bomb squad to make sure explosives weren’t planted on amusement park rides, officials said.

“Our investigation has so far indicated that nobody in the public was at risk. It would appear the subject’s actions were limited to the property of Glenwood Caverns,” the sheriff’s office said.

The suspect’s property in Carbondale was also searched “to ensure the safety of the public,” officials said.

The park has been closed to visitors during the investigation “to preserve evidence,” officials said.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park describes itself as “America’s only mountaintop theme park,” and attractions include thrill rides that showcase “stunning panoramic Colorado views.”

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