Potential Mass Shooter Commits Suicide in Park: ‘I Am Not a Killer’
Diego Barajas Medina, 20, was found dead on Saturday in Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Medina was carrying a semi-automatic rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, “multiple, loaded” magazines, and “multiple improvised explosive devices.”
Garfield County Sheriff’s Office stated yesterday that Medina “could have implemented an attack of devastating proportions” on Saturday. According to AP News, Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire ruled the 20-year-old’s cause of death as a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Meanwhile, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said in a press conference that it is “highly likely” Medina was planning a shooting at the amusement park — but killed himself instead.
“Given the preparation, given the amount of weapons and ordinance he had it almost seemed very highly likely he intended to use those against the community,” Vallario told reporters. “He chose not to.”
“He chose instead, as we believe at this point, to commit suicide,” the sheriff added.
At the scene of Medina’s death, police found wall writings including “I am not a killer”
According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office’s statement, it seems like Medina “illegally entered” Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park during closed hours. He was wearing “body armor,” a ballistic helmet, and military-style tactical clothing. Apart from his semi-automatic rifle, handgun, and loaded magazines, he carried a mix of real and fake explosives.
Moreover, police deemed Medina’s AR-style rifle and semi-automatic handgun to be “ghost guns,” which are unserialized and, therefore, untraceable.
Authorities said Medina was wearing “patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement.” They also clarified that the 20-year-old “was not related to any of the rides or exhibits at the park.”
In the statement, police also outlined how devastating Medina’s “likely” shooting could have been if he carried through with it. “It is important to realize that given the amount of weaponry, ammunition, and explosive devices found,” authorities explained. “The suspect could have implemented an attack of devastating proportions upon our community and first responders.”
By Saturday morning, the amusement park’s maintenance crew found Medina’s lifeless body in a women’s bathroom.
According to AP News, Garfield County Sheriff Vallario also revealed the words written on the wall next to Medina’s body. The 20-year-old’s apparent final message read: “I am not a killer, I just wanted to get into the caves.”
At the press conference, Vallario recalled, “I can tell you that when I first saw this, it was definitely the realization that this type of danger has come to quiet Glenwood Springs, Colorado, rural Colorado, rural America.”
After finding Medina’s body, police searched the amusement park for bomb threats, and said they found no other risks. Apart from searching Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in a “slow, methodical manner,” they also searched the 20-year-old’s Carbondale home “to determine the extent of his criminal activity.”
However, according to Sheriff Vallario, there were no warning signs. As per NBC 11, he explained during the press conference, “We don’t see any history, any reason, we don’t see any motive. He was just completely under the radar.” The sheriff added that Medina had no criminal history, and didn’t even have a traffic ticket on his record.
Medina lived with his mother and brother in Carbondale and graduated from the town’s Roaring Fork High School in 2021. As per Denver 7, the school released a statement that read: “Roaring Fork Schools is saddened to learn of the recent incident and fatality at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.”
Acting Superintendent Anna Cole also said, “This tragedy will impact our school community significantly.”
Moreover, the amusement park’s general manager Nancy Heard told USA Today, “This very sad and tragic incident reminds us how much our Glenwood Springs community means to us.” The park remains closed for the time being.
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