Police: Man arrested after shooting at park rangers in Everglades

The incident prompted an active shooter alert but no one was injured, officials said

By Bianca Padró Ocasio and Monique O. Madan
The Miami Herald

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Authorities arrested a man who they say opened fire on park rangers at Everglades National Park late Sunday, prompting an active shooter alert.

The unidentified suspect, a 33-year-old man with long hair, was taken into custody at around 9 p.m. There is no longer an active shooter threat but the area still should be avoided, park officials said.

No injuries were reported, park officials noted through its Twitter account, but visitors and residents in the Flamingo headquarters were asked to shelter in place.

Around 6:45 p.m., officials said the suspect "fired at park rangers unprovoked" near Flamingo, the southernmost headquarters of the park.

According to Local 10 News, the man was stopped near that area by law enforcement officials — who didn't clarify why they had done so. The outlet reported that after being stopped, the suspect began shooting at park rangers and fled. An active shooter search was subsequently initiated.

Park spokesperson Allyson Gantt said two park rangers responded earlier in the day to a domestic violence investigation at Mahogany Hammock, involving the same suspect.

"When the rangers arrived, the suspect had left the scene in his vehicle and was believed to be headed south toward Flamingo. At 5:52 p.m., rangers located the empty vehicle on the main park road, just south of Paurotis Pond," Gantt added. "Given the evidence found on scene, the rangers suspected that the subject had fled into the woods and was armed."

[READ: Los Angeles councilmembers move to arm park rangers]

Park officials did not immediately respond to the Miami Herald's request for more information.

Main Park Road, State Road 9336, has been closed for the public's safety. Law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local level all responded to the scene, authorities said in a statement.

Miami-Dade Police, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FBI assisted in the investigation.

Since 2010, visitors at the park have been allowed to carry a firearm if they possessed a valid permit, according to its regulations.

Everglades National Park spans 1.5 million acres of tropical wetland and was established in 1947.

(c)2021 Miami Herald

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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