January 5, 2012 in Region

Copter dropped coffee cups to warn Rainier campers

Associated Press
AP/Pierce Co. Sheriff's Dept., Ed Troyer photo

In this pool photo provided by the Pierce Co. Sheriff’s Dept., members of the Pierce County Swiftwater Rescue Team stand alongside the creek Monday near the spot where they recovered the body of Benjamin Colton Barnes, who allegedly shot and killed a park ranger Sunday during a traffic stop in the park.
(Full-size photo)

Flags lower Tuesday for ranger
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has directed that flags at state buildings fly at half-staff Tuesday in memory of the ranger shot to death on New Year’s Day at Mount Rainier National Park.

The public memorial service for Margaret Anderson is scheduled Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

The 34-year-old mother of two was married to another Mount Rainier park ranger and lived at Eatonville.

SEATTLE — A helicopter crew searching for the gunman who killed a Mount Rainier National Park ranger on New Year’s Day came across a small group of campers and used an unusual method to warn them the shooter was at large.

The crew of the Bellingham-based Customs and Border Protection helicopter wrote messages on paper coffee cups and dropped them to the campers on Monday morning telling them of the danger.

The first cup said, “A ranger has been shot shooter at large. Call on cell if able.” As the group packed up camp, the chopper swooped over them and dropped another message: “Take road to falls and sheriff deputies. We will keep an eye on you.”

One of the hikers, Natalia Martinez-Paz, wrote about the experience in a post at www.nwhikers.net .

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