Armed man found dead at Colorado amusement park with multiple guns and explosives identified

Armed man found dead at Colorado amusement park with multiple guns and explosives identified


Natalie Neysa Alund
 USA TODAY

Update: This story has been updated with information from a Monday afternoon press conference

Law enforcement in Colorado is investigating after they said a “heavily armed” man was found dead inside an amusement park over the weekend “wearing body armor” with “multiple improvised explosive devices” on him.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office reported that Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park employees notified officials the body of the 20-year-old man was found Saturday morning, prior to the park opening.

Authorities on Monday evening identified the man as Diego Barajas Medina.

The park is located in Glenwood Springs, a resort city in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by the White River National Forest.

Walt Stowe, a spokesperson for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office told USA TODAY Medina’s death is being investigated as a possible suicide.

“There is no danger to the community as of right now,” Stowe said Monday.

The agency did not release how Medina died but, according to a press release, said his death did not involve any of the rides and he was not authorized to be inside the park.

Dressed in black tactical clothing bearing emblems as if he were law enforcement

According to a preliminary investigation, police wrote in a news release Monday, Medina, from the Carbondale area, was found dead dressed in black tactical clothing “bearing patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement.”

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He was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a semi-automatic handgun and multiple loaded magazines for both weapons, the release continues. Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said during a Monday afternoon press conference that both weapons are believed by to be “ghost guns.”

Medina wore body armor and what appeared to be a ballistic helmet. Additional multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDS) were discovered with Medina and a vehicle associated with him, found at the park. Vallario noted during the press conference that some of what appeared to be explosive devices were fake.

A bomb squad responded to the park and “we able to render the devices safe,” the release continues.

Bomb squad members backed by the Garfield County All Hazard response team swept the park to make sure no other IEDs were planted.

According to law enforcement, so far the investigation has indicated Medina’s actions were “limited to the property of the Glenwood Caverns.”

The agency released the following statement on Facebook:

“The initial two days of the investigation have been carried out in the slow, methodical manner in order to search the property, as well as the suspect’s residence to ensure the safety of the public and to begin to determine the extent of his criminal activity. The safety of the public, bomb, disposal personnel, law enforcement, and other first responders were the priority, as well as making sure the cabins were safe to re-open.”

Given the amount of weaponry, ammunition, and explosive devices found, police said, Medina could have “implemented attack of devastating proportions upon our community, and first responders.”

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Suspect’s cause and manner of death pending autopsy

Medina’s official cause of death will be determined by the Garfield County coroner, according to the release.

USA TODAY has reached out to the coroner’s office.

Also according to the release, it appears Medina drove a vehicle to the park before he entered it and investigators were making sure none of the rides, equipment or any of the park’s on-site buildings or facilities “were tampered with.”

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Body, findings prompts closure of park

According to a park spokesperson, Medina trespassed onto the property when no employees or guests were on property.

“This very sad and tragic incident reminds us how much our Glenwood Springs community means to us,” General Manager Nancy Heard told USA TODAY. “We appreciate the swift action and thorough work of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department and Coroner’s Office, as well as the Garfield County All Hazard Response Team and other authorities assisting in the investigation, working together to ensure the park is safe to reopen.”

According to its website, the park is the nation’s only mountain-top theme park located between Aspen and Vail along Interstate 70.

The park’s attractions include roller coasters, other rides, zip lines, a gondola and mountain-top dining.

On Monday, the park remained closed according to its website.

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James Powel, The Associated Press contributing

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X @nataliealund.

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