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Thousands expected at service for slain WA ranger

Thousands of people are expected at today’s memorial service for Margaret Anderson, the Mount Rainier National Park ranger who was fatally shot on New Year’s Day.

A procession of law enforcement vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency service vehicles will leave the Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood Tuesday morning and arrive at Trinity Lutheran Church.

The 90-minute service is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Pacific Lutheran University. An overflow venue has been set up at Rainier View Christian Church in Tacoma.

Anderson, a 34-year-old mother of two young girls, was shot and killed after setting up a roadblock to stop a vehicle that blew through a checkpoint on the road to the park’s visitor center. The driver of that vehicle shot Anderson in her car and fled on foot. Searchers found the body of the suspect, a 24-year-old Iraq war veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes, in a snowy creek. An autopsy showed he died of hypothermia and drowning.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis are scheduled to speak, along with local ministers.

Anderson had served as a ranger at Mount Rainier south of Seattle for three years. She was married to another ranger, Eric Anderson, who was on duty elsewhere in the park when she was killed.

The daughter of a Lutheran minister, Anderson grew up in New Jersey and earned a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in biology from Fort Hays State University in Kansas, local media have reported.

She began working with the National Park Service as a law enforcement ranger at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, where she met her husband. She also worked as a law enforcement park ranger at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park.