Shooting between Rocky Mountain National Park ranger, suspect closes Fall River entrance


Update, 1:45 p.m.: Rocky Mountain National Park remains closed in the area of the Fall River Entrance Wednesday afternoon after a park ranger exchanged gunfire with a suspect reportedly involved in a vehicle pursuit earlier in the day. 

A national park service law enforcement ranger contacted two people in a vehicle near the Fall River Entrance about 10:15 a.m. who were reportedly involved in a vehicle pursuit earlier in the day outside the park, according to park spokesperson Kyle Patterson. 

During the contact, the ranger was shot but his ballistic vest protected him from serious injuries, Patterson said in an emailed update. The ranger exchanged fire and injured one of the suspects, Patterson said.

The ranger and the injured suspect were taken to a hospital for treatment, and a second uninjured suspect was taken into custody, Patterson said. 

The park remains closed from outside the Fall River Entrance to Deer Ridge Junction while officials investigate. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will lead the investigation. 

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith posted about the shooting on Facebook Wednesday morning to say that the sheriff’s office will provide assistance to federal agencies in the investigation. 

Original: An entrance and portion of Rocky Mountain National Park closed midday Wednesday due to law enforcement activity. 

The Fall River Entrance at U.S. Highway 34 to Deer Ridge Junction closed just before 11 a.m. Wednesday due to a law enforcement incident and investigation, park spokesperson Kyle Patterson said. 

The area remained closed as of 1 p.m., Patterson said. 

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith wrote in an 11:45 a.m. Facebook post the incident was a shooting involving a park ranger. The incident occurred inside park boundaries, so federal authorities are leading the investigation and the sheriff’s office is providing assistance where requested, Smith wrote. 

No additional information has been released by the park as of 1 p.m., but Patterson said more information would be released soon. 

Sady Swanson covers public safety, criminal justice, Larimer County government and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.