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Man, 20, in full body armor is found dead at Colorado adventure park armed with an assault rifle, handgun and multiple IEDs


A heavily armed man killed himself rather than carry out an apparent plan to shoot up a mountaintop amusement park in Colorado, authorities said on Monday.

Diego Barajas Medina, 20, was found dead in a women’s bathroom by a maintenance crew at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on Saturday morning, before it opened to the public.

He apparently entered the park while it was closed, armed with an AR-style rifle, a semi-automatic handgun and explosives.

Barajas Medina was wearing body armor and tactical clothing, similar to what a police SWAT team member might wear, authorities said.

A message was written on a wall of the bathroom where the man was found lying on the floor, saying: ‘I am not a killer, I just want to get into the caves.’

Glenwood Caverns theme park is located in Glenwood Springs, 160 miles east of Denver

Glenwood Caverns theme park is located in Glenwood Springs, 160 miles east of Denver

People ride the Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

People ride the Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said a handgun and explosive devices were nearby – some real and some fake. 

The AR-style rifle was on a counter nearby along with a duty belt holding several ammunition magazines.

Vallario could not say for certain that the man left the message.

There were no prior indications, either at home or school, suggesting the man was planning an attack, Vallario said. 

But he noted that investigators have not conducted any in-depth interviews yet. 

The FBI will help review Barajas Medina’s phone records and social media postings as part of the investigation, he said.

‘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. He chose not to,’ Vallario said.

Multiple improvised explosive devices were found in Barajas Medina’s vehicle, police had said. 

Glenwood Caverns is located in a remote hilltop spot, 160 miles east of Denver

Glenwood Caverns is located in a remote hilltop spot, 160 miles east of Denver

Authorities searched the rest of the park for other explosives but suggested no others were found.

The park would likely be crowded on a fall weekend during hunting season when people go to the mountains to see the changing autumn colors, Vallario said. 

And given the park’s isolated location, which visitors access via gondola, it would have been difficult to get any wounded to the hospital, he said.

Barajas Medina was from the nearby town of Carbondale, where he lived with his mother and brother. 

A search of his room by law enforcement found nothing to indicate explosives and he had no known criminal history or prior encounters with police, the sheriff said.

The weapons found on the man were ghost guns, which do not have serial numbers and therefore cannot be traced. 

His clothing had patches and emblems that gave the appearance of him being associated with law enforcement.

Some of the suspected explosives turned out to be fakes – including several that looked like hand grenades – but others were real, the sheriff said. 

However, there was no evidence to suggest that explosive devices had been placed elsewhere inside the park, he said.

Investigators believe the man drove up to the park on a service road.

The park is in a remote area, and the local sheriff said he was immensely relieved the planned attack did not take place

The park is in a remote area, and the local sheriff said he was immensely relieved the planned attack did not take place

The park, which is surrounded by state-owned public land, is on a mountain above the Colorado River in western Colorado. 

Its attractions include cave tours, an alpine coaster and a pendulum swing ride perched on the edge of a cliff that sends riders over the river canyon.

No employees or visitors were on scene when the man entered the park, according to a statement issued on Monday by Glenwood Caverns. 

Barajas Medina was found outside of restricted areas where rides are located, according to the park.

‘This very sad and tragic incident reminds us how much our Glenwood Springs community means to us,’ said Nancy Heard, general manager of Glenwood Caverns.



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