Reporting Mike Hellgren
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — Margaret Anderson was well-known and well-respected, earning her stripes in Maryland before being transferred to Washington state, where she was murdered. WJZ spoke to those close to her at the C&O Canal National Park.
Mike Hellgren has the grief and the investigation.
She died on the job at Mount Ranier National Park in Washington state. Police say a troubled Iraq war vet on the run from the law shot her in her patrol car. The stunning news traveled quickly to Anderson’s former co-workers at the C&O Canal National Park in Maryland, where rangers are wearing black bands around their badges in mourning.
“I think of her as one of the consummate rangers that I’ve known in my 32-plus year career,” said superintendent Kevin Brandt.
Anderson left behind two little girls and a husband, Eric, who also worked as a ranger. The two got engaged here in Maryland.
“It’s a void that can never be replaced and it’s the reality of our job and you face that every day and you still come to work and do the best you can,” said ranger Josh Cunningham.
SWAT teams searched rugged terrain for days for her accused killer, Benjamin Colton Barnes, who was wanted for a shooting. They found him dead in the ice and snow. Police say he struggled from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It’ll take a while for the rangers to get over it,” said Brad Clawson.
Anderson had a passion for her career and commanded respect. Those who knew her are struggling to cope with the loss.
“For those who didn’t get to meet Margaret sometime in their life, they missed out,” said Brandt.
Her daughters are just one and three.