December 8th, 2021 - Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Published December 8th, 2021

A National Park Service (NPS) Ranger avoided serious injury after being shot in his ballistic-resistant vest on Wednesday. At approximately 10 am, the NPS Ranger initiated a traffic stop in Rocky Mountain National Park, near the Fall River entrance, on a vehicle matching the description of one involved in a short pursuit with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) near Loveland earlier that morning. As the NPS Ranger approached the vehicle, gunfire was exchanged between the driver and Ranger. According to NPS Spokesperson Kyle Patterson, the Ranger was struck in the chest, but the round was stopped by his ballistic-resistant vest. The driver of the vehicle was shot in the leg. The Ranger was able to detain both the driver and his female passenger until additional officers could arrive at the scene and place both suspects under arrest. Both the Ranger and the vehicle driver were transported to a local hospital, where they were treated for what was reported to be “non-life-threatening injuries”. According to NPS Spokesperson Patterson, this is the first time in park history that a Ranger was involved in a shooting, let alone being shot. “We are okay now because our colleague is okay,” Patterson said. “That’s where we are sitting right now, realizing this is something that can happen anywhere, and we are just relieved that our colleague is safe.” The incident remains under investigation and charges, both state and Federal, are pending against the suspects as the incident occurred on NPS property.