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Recording before Yellowstone shooting gives details about suspect

National Park Service Rangers. Canyon Village. Yellowstone National Park. 7/4/24

CASPER, Wyo. — The man killed in a shootout in Yellowstone National Park on July 4 took a woman hostage, may have had multiple weapons and threatened “suicide by cop” hours before the incident, according to a recording obtained by NPS Ranger News.

The BOLO — be on the lookout — recording names the suspect, Samson Fussner. The recording was sent by the Yellowstone communications center to nearby agencies early July 4.

The dispatcher said Fussner, a white male, was possibly headed out of the west side of the park in an unknown direction, driving a silver Nissan Rogue with Florida plates, potentially on the way to Cody.

“He had held a female hostage at gunpoint and threatened suicide by cop,” the dispatcher said, but as far as the BOLO was concerned, Fussner was probably alone.

Fussner also threatened to “shoot up a fireworks show” somewhere in west Yellowstone or Montana. He was believed to have a pistol possibly “larger weapons” and a knife, the dispatcher said.

However, Fussner did not leave the park.

On July 4, rangers went to a dorm at Canyon Village in the central part of Yellowstone, where they responded to a report of an individual with a firearm who was making threats, according to a press release from the park.

“When rangers contacted the individual there was an exchange of gunfire between the subject and law enforcement rangers,” the press release stated.

The suspect, Fussner, died and a ranger was injured.

The FBI is leading the investigation with support from National Park Service special agents. No further information is available at this time about the motive or other circumstances surrounding the shooting.

As of Monday afternoon, neither the Pensacola nor the Milton, Florida, newspapers have had stories about Fussner’s shooting.