Gunman Suspected Of Killing Mount Rainier Ranger Margaret Anderson May Be Dead

Washington state police believe they’ve found the dead body of a Iraq war vet suspected of gunning down a female park ranger on New Year's Day.

In this undated photo provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Benjamin Colton Barnes, is shown. Officials said Barnes is a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012 in Washington State. (AP Photo/Pierce County Sheriff's Dept.)

Washington state police believe they’ve found the dead body of a Iraq war vet suspected of gunning down a female park ranger on New Year's Day.

“A body of a white male has been located face down in the snow with no heat signature. ID has not been confirmed yet,” a Washington state police spokesman said on Twitter.

“The body found is believed to be that of homicide suspect Benjamin C. Barnes. Again that has not been confirmed.”

The 24-year-old apparently died after trudging into chest-deep snow while trying to run from SWAT team members and other police, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities had locked down the snow-covered Mount Rainier National Park, a 368-square-mile area south of Seattle, as they hunted for the suspected gunman.

The Iraq War veteran was believed to be armed and wearing body armor, according to CNN.

The park had been evacuated, and at least 125 people have been kept at the visitors center.

Local police and the FBI were using aircraft equipped with heat-sensing scanners to fly over the wilderness, KOMO 4 News reported, while searchers on the ground wore crampons and snowshoes to scour the snow for signs of the suspect.

Barnes is also suspected in a shooting incident in the Seattle community of Skyway, which left four people wounded, police said.

An argument during a party, at which several people were armed, led to a shootout at around 3 a.m., KOMO 4 News reported Sunday.

At least three people fled the scene, one of which was identified as Barnes, polices said.

Several hours later, a ranger attempted to stop a vehicle believed to be driven by Barnes during what authorities described as a "normal traffic stop."

When the suspect refused to pull over, the ranger called for assistance. Park ranger Margaret Anderson, a 34-year-old mother of two, responded and set up a roadblock.

The gunman stopped his car, got out, and shot her, authorities said. Anderson managed to call for help, but the suspect fired off shots keeping sheriff deputies away. When they were finally able to get to her, some 90 minutes later, she was dead.

Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Lee Taylor described Anderson as "a person with a quick smile, a very gentle person, a very competent ranger," according to CNN. "This gunman took the life of somebody who had a great deal to live for and was making great contributions to society by being a national park ranger."