Updated at 7:33 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023
The Garfield County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a heavily armed man found dead Saturday morning at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs.
Authorities have not named the suspect, but a statement issued Monday afternoon identified him as a 20-year-old man from the Carbondale area. It appears the man broke into Glenwood Caverns after hours and was not directly tied to the park.
"He was dressed in black colored tactical clothing, bearing patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement," the sheriff's statement said. "The suspect had been heavily armed with a semi-automatic rifle and semi-automatic handgun and multiple, loaded magazines for both weapons. He was wearing body armor and what appeared to be a ballistic helmet."
Improvised explosives were also found with the man's body and in his vehicle, which was left outside the park's entrance. The Grand Junction Bomb Squad successfully disarmed the bombs and swept the park for hidden devices alongside the Garfield County All Hazard Response Team.
"While this investigation is still ongoing and very active it is important to realize that given the amount of weaponry, ammunition and explosive devices found, the suspect could have implemented an attack of devastating proportions upon our community and first responders," the statement said.
Prior to announcing the weapons' discovery, authorities also searched the man's home. They have not announced what was found there, but confirmed there is currently no threat to the public. The amusement park is closed indefinitely as the investigation continues.
This is the second death at the park in two years. A 6-year-old girl, Wongel Estifanos, died in September 2021 after a worker failed to properly secure her restraints before starting up a ride.
Estifanos's family witnessed her fall 110 feet to her death while on the Haunted Mine Drop. Nobody was charged in her death, and a wrongful death lawsuit the family brought against Glenwood Caverns is still pending.
Editor's note: The suspect's age was misidentified in the statement from the Garfield County Sheriff's Office. The Garfield County Coroner has identified him as 20-year-old Diego Barajas Medina.
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