Garfield County regulation enforcement officers on Monday described an averted catastrophe after the physique of a 20-year-old man was discovered alongside weapons, ammunition and bombs in a toilet on the Glenwood Caverns Journey Park over the weekend.
Upkeep crews found the person’s physique in a girls’s toilet Saturday morning whereas on the point of open the park, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario mentioned throughout a digital information convention.
The Garfield County Coroner’s Workplace on Monday recognized the person as Diego Barajas Medina, of Carbondale, and confirmed his method of demise was suicide, attributable to a single gunshot wound to the top.
“We had the potential for one thing heinous and grotesque to occur on this neighborhood and we have been lucky that it didn’t happen, however it definitely, for lack of a greater time period, took away the innocence of our neighborhood,” Vallario mentioned on a Zoom name with reporters.
Vallario didn’t say whether or not the investigation had but uncovered any particular plans the person may need made.
“We’re extraordinarily fortunate he didn’t fulfill no matter plan he had meant,” Vallario mentioned. “It might have brought on a devastating influence on this neighborhood and will have killed and injured many individuals.”
Medina was wearing black tactical clothes and had a rifle, pistol, ammunition, pipe bombs and faux grenades with him, Vallario mentioned.
He seemingly broke into the park by driving up an entry highway, Vallario mentioned. Glenwood Caverns is simply accessible to the general public by gondola.
Based on a Monday information launch, investigators found a number of improvised explosive gadgets with Medina and in his automobile.
Each weapons discovered on the scene seem like “ghost weapons,” which don’t have serial numbers, Vallario mentioned.
Investigators additionally discovered the phrase “I’m not a killer. I simply needed to get into the caves” written on the lavatory wall the place Medina was discovered, Vallario mentioned.
The variety of weapons and ammunition mixed with the remoted location of the park might have brought on an incredible quantity of injury, Vallario mentioned.
“We dodged a bullet this time,” Vallario mentioned. “We bought fortunate.”
The journey park closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday because the property was swept by members of the bomb squad and operators from the Garfield County All Hazard Response Staff to make sure no different explosives had been planted across the park or rides.
Investigators consider the person’s actions have been restricted to the property of Glenwood Caverns, Vallario mentioned.
The preliminary investigation has not revealed any warning indicators, prison historical past, motive or purpose for Medina’s actions, Vallario mentioned.
Investigators additionally searched Medina’s residence to make sure the security of the general public and to find out the extent of his prison exercise, Vallario mentioned.
Medina graduated from Roaring Fork Excessive College in 2021 and deliberate to take a spot 12 months to work earlier than attending Colorado Mountain School, in line with a commencement complement revealed by the Sopris Solar.
In an announcement, Glenwood Caverns Journey Park Basic Supervisor Nancy Heard mentioned the tragic incident is a reminder of how a lot the Glenwood Springs neighborhood means.
“We recognize the swift motion and thorough work of the Garfield County Sherriff’s Division and Coroner’s Workplace, in addition to the Garfield County All Hazard Response Staff and different authorities aiding within the investigation, working collectively to make sure the park is secure to reopen,” Heard mentioned.
The park usually closes for the summer season on the finish of October and can reopen for the winter season on Nov. 10, in line with the assertion.
In September 2021, the park closed for a number of days after a 6-year-old woman died on the park’s Haunted Mine Drop attraction.
Editor’s be aware: Preliminary data from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Workplace said the deceased man was 22 years outdated. The sheriff’s workplace later clarified that the person was 20 years outdated.