Mt. Rainier Shooting Suspect was Military Veteran with Possible PTSD

Authorities found the body of who they believe to be Benjamin Colton Barnes, a 24 year old United States Veteran, at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State today.  The former veteran was found face-down in the snow without any I.D.   Benjamin Barnes is suspected of shooting and killing a 34-year-old female park ranger, Margaret Anderson, on Sunday morning…New Year’s Eve.

“He was wearing T-shirt, a pair of jeans and one tennis shoe. That was it,” said Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer, according to The Associated Press.

Anyone looking for triggers to this horrible incident need look no further than the recent events in the life of Benjamin Barnes.  ABC News reported that, “Barnes is a military veteran who has a history of criminal violence, including threatening the mother of his child with guns during a bitter custody battle, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.”

Why?  That’s it?  That’s all there is to this story?  I think not.

Benjamin Barnes was an Iraq War Veteran who was involved in a severe custody battle with his ex-wife in the summer of 2011.  PTSD should be ringing the bells of anyone looking for a why in this senseless killing, and everyone around him asking themselves how they failed to notice the signs.

The photo, posted by ABC News and many others, was obviously chosen to depict Benjamin Colton Barnes as some sort of gun-toting animal from the wild.  These are not the facts of his life, they cannot be!  There is more to this young man’s story that define him than the sad act that ended not only his own life, but also the suspected lives of 5 others; including the mother of two young children.

My own son, a Marine Corps veteran, is covered in similarly large tatoos.  He is also now studying to become a Catholic Priest.  My message to the world (in this blog post) is to ask why nobody noticed the signs of what had to be a fairly severe PTSD disorder compounded by the stress of recent events in his life.

Even if they find drugs in this young former soldier’s body, that will only strengthen my theory.  I pray to God every day that more people pay attention to the signs of PTSD, so just in case you’ve missed them in any of my previous blog posts, please learn about them >>HERE

Related Story: Two Navy pilots among those killed in murder-suicide

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6 responses to “Mt. Rainier Shooting Suspect was Military Veteran with Possible PTSD

    • DEAR LAURIE, I AM REALLY SHOCKED WITH THE SAD STORY OF BENJAMIN BARNES WHO ENDED HIS LIFE IN MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK. I NEVER LIKE TO READY SUCH STORIES RELATED TO AMERICAN VETERANS, BUT IT HAPPENED UNTIMELY. WE HAVE TO LOOK AFTER THE PSYCHOLOGICAL SYNDROME OF SUCH INDIVIDUALS ON TIME AND TRY TO USE MEASURES TO PREVENT SUCH THINGS NOT TO HAPPEN IN THE SOCIETY AND IN THE LIFE OF ANY INDIVIDUAL!

  1. I am diagnosed with PTSD. PTSD has absolutely nothing to do with what he did. I think he had some other problems before or after his military service. I know everyone wants to point at his service as the reason he did what he did. But If that was true he would have just put a bullet in his own head. He decided to take others with him. What caused his problem was the Family courts. He was probably getting destroyed by the friend of the court, and thats why he didn’t recognize the difference between the park rangers and the courts. Trust me I’ve been there. PTSD might have been the reason he was depressed. But the custody battle was the reason he exploded. The courts were probably taking his children from him. and most of his income. His life was over as soon as the friend of the courts got done with him. They don’t care about your service, what you may have been through, and the courts don’t show you any respect. They just destroy what life you have left.

    • PTSD affects everyone differently, it doesn’t just cause depression. It can cause anxiety, fear, anger and more. The results can be disasterous to families. It can cause job loss, seclusion, and abuse. More than likely, it was the PTSD in conjunction with the family courts that caused this tragedy. But, I believe PTSD plays a bigger role in family life and divorce than you might think. It’s how we manage it that makes the difference.

  2. Laurie, Thank you for sharing this! I am afraid that this may be the first in a long string of stories about the effects of PTSD… I hate that our society is still of the mindset “If we can’t see it then it really doesn’t exist” It is sooooo difficult to get across! One of the hardest things is that even the sufferers have to really swallow hard to admit that they could be dealing with this. I know that many of the posts are now getting the soldiers out to do paintball, repelling and other forms of high adrenaline activities to help with the transitions. But I wonder if putting the soldiers in these situations could also help with diagnoses! This world needs to be educated about the signs and symptoms of PTSD/TBI it is a tragedy to lose so many so needlessly.

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