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911 call shows man suspected in plan to attack Colorado amusement park was found dead near a ride

Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — The body of a heavily armed man who authorities suspected was planning a “heinous” attack at a mountaintop amusement park in Colorado was discovered with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the bathroom at a building that houses a ride that drops 110-feet deep into caverns, according to a 911 call released Wednesday.

A Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park maintenance worker can be heard in the Saturday morning call calmly telling a dispatcher that the body was surrounded by weapons and alcohol in the women’s bathroom at a ride called the Crystal Tower.

A message saying, “I am not a killer, I just wanted to get into the caves,” was written on the wall of the bathroom where Diego Barajas Medina’s body was found, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said earlier this week.

No evidence has been released by authorities detailing exactly what the 20-year-old man had planned when he entered the park via a private service road in the hours before it opened over the weekend. Medina had no known prior criminal history, according to authorities.

But Vallario said that weapons and ordnance found on Medina and in his car — including an AR-style rifle, a handgun and an assortment of real and fake explosive devices — made it “very highly likely” that he intended to use them against members of the community. Medina also was wearing body armor and tactical clothing, similar to what a police SWAT team member might wear, authorities said.

“He was well intended to do something very heinous,” the sheriff said.

Medina was never employed at Glenwood Caverns, according to park representatives. Authorities were trying to determine if he had any other connection to the amusement park, sheriff’s office spokesperson Walt Stowe said.

Police in nearby Carbondale said they had made no service calls to an apartment where public records show Medina lived. He had taken classes at Colorado Mountain College as a high school student and expressed a plan to enroll at the college but never did, according to the college.

Efforts to reach Medina’s family for comment have been unsuccessful.

The amusement park is surrounded by state-owned public land on a mountain above the Colorado River in western Colorado. It features cave tours, a roller coaster and a pendulum swing ride perched on the edge of a cliff that sends riders over the river canyon. Its website advertises the Crystal Tower as an “underground drop ride” where visitors can drop deep into Iron Mountain to view a “crystal grotto.”

Park representatives said in a Monday statement that Glenwood Caverns has an extensive network of fencing, gates, security cameras and alarms to protect rides, ride-restricted areas and sensitive buildings. The park said “the incident on October 28 did not take place in any of these areas and was not related to any rides or attractions.”

The park repeated that statement Wednesday evening in response to questions about the 911 call. A recording of the call was released to The Associated Press under a public records request.


Brown reported from Billings, Montana.

Article Topic Follows: AP-National

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