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Ranger Shot in Rocky Mountain National Park

RMNP’s Fall River entrance reopened this morning in the wake of an FBI investigation into a shooting involving a Park Service law enforcement ranger.

On the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 8, a Park Service law enforcement ranger was shot near Rocky Mountain National Park’s Fall River entrance. The ranger also reportedly discharged their firearm, wounding one of two suspected perpetrators.

Both the ranger and the wounded suspect received medical treatment at a nearby hospital. The additional suspect was apprehended at the scene and remains in custody. The ranger, whose ballistic vest stopped the bullet from entry, suffered minimal injuries, according to authorities.

The extent of the gunshot suspect’s injuries is not known at this time. According to a preliminary report from the RMNP, the suspects had been involved in a vehicular chase outside the park’s boundaries earlier that morning when the ranger made contact.

According to an official statement by the National Park Service, the FBI will oversee the case. RMNP’s Fall River entrance was closed to the public before reopening this morning.

Local affiliate CBS4 reported that a spokesperson for RMNP said this was “the first time in park history a law enforcement ranger was involved with a shooting, let alone shot.”

No further details have yet been released, but check back — we’ll provide updates as more information becomes available.

Update, Dec. 17, 2021: Earlier this week, the suspect, 29-year-old Daron Marquel Ellis, was formally charged with assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon. If found guilty of the charges, Ellis could face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. For additional information, see this report by The Denver Channel.

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.