Authorities Report Armed Individual Took His Own Life, Averting Potential Attack on Mountain Amusement Park

by Joshua Brown
Potential Amusement Park Attack

On Monday, officials disclosed that a man heavily armed with firearms and explosives took his own life instead of executing what seemed to be a premeditated attack on Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Colorado. His body was found in a restroom near a handwritten message on the wall stating, “I am not a killer.”

The deceased, identified as 20-year-old Diego Barajas Medina, was discovered on Saturday morning by a maintenance team in a women’s restroom of the amusement park before it opened to the public. The cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire.

Authorities reported that Medina gained entry to the park while it was closed, equipped with an AR-style rifle, a semi-automatic pistol, and explosives. He was also clad in tactical attire and body armor akin to that worn by police SWAT team members.

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario reported that a message reading, “I am not a killer, I just wanted to get into the caves,” was found scrawled on the restroom wall where Medina’s body was discovered. Beside him were a semi-automatic pistol and various explosive devices, some authentic and others imitation. An AR-style rifle along with a duty belt containing multiple ammunition magazines was placed on a nearby counter.

Although Sheriff Vallario could not definitively state that the message was written by Medina, he did report that there were no prior signs from Medina’s home or educational background to suggest he was planning an assault. Further investigation is underway, with the FBI assisting in reviewing Medina’s phone records and social media activity.

“Given the extent of the preparations and the array of armaments, it seems highly probable that Medina intended to utilize them against the public, yet he opted not to,” Vallario added.

Authorities also discovered multiple homemade explosive devices in the vehicle Medina used. While the park premises were scoured for additional explosives, none were found.

The amusement park is situated in a remote location and is normally accessed by gondola. Vallario noted that given the park’s popularity during the autumn hunting season, it would likely have been crowded, making it challenging to transport any potential victims to medical facilities.

Medina resided in the neighboring town of Carbondale with his mother and brother. According to a local newspaper list of high school graduates from 2021, Medina intended to work for a year before enrolling in Colorado Mountain College.

A search of his residence revealed no materials related to explosives or bomb-making, and Medina had no known criminal record or prior interactions with law enforcement. The firearms found on Medina were untraceable ghost guns, and his attire featured patches that gave the impression of affiliation with law enforcement agencies.

Sheriff Vallario clarified that some of the suspected explosives were duds, designed to resemble hand grenades, while others were genuine. However, there was no evidence to suggest that additional explosives were placed in other areas of the park.

It is believed that Medina accessed the park using a service road. The park, surrounded by state-owned public land, offers attractions like cave tours and alpine rides.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park issued a statement on Monday confirming that no staff or visitors were present when Medina entered. “This tragic and sorrowful incident serves as a poignant reminder of the significance of our Glenwood Springs community,” said Glenwood Caverns General Manager Nancy Heard.

For immediate assistance regarding suicidal thoughts or crisis situations, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available via phone or text at 988, or through online chat at 988Lifeline.org.

This article has been updated to correct the phrasing of the handwritten message from “want” to “wanted,” and to clarify that Medina’s post-graduation plans were listed in a local newspaper, not a yearbook.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Potential Amusement Park Attack

What happened at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park?

A heavily armed man identified as Diego Barajas Medina took his own life inside a restroom at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Colorado, thereby averting what authorities believe could have been a planned attack on the amusement park.

Who was Diego Barajas Medina?

Diego Barajas Medina was a 20-year-old male resident of the nearby town of Carbondale, Colorado. He had no known criminal history and was found heavily armed in a restroom at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

What weapons and equipment did Medina possess?

Medina was armed with an AR-style rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, and multiple explosive devices. He was also wearing tactical attire and body armor similar to that of a police SWAT team member.

What did the authorities find written on the wall next to Medina’s body?

Authorities found a message written on the restroom wall next to Medina’s body that read, “I am not a killer, I just wanted to get into the caves.”

Was anyone else in the park at the time?

No staff or visitors were present when Medina entered the park, according to a statement issued by Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Were any other explosives found in the park?

While multiple homemade explosive devices were found in Medina’s vehicle, a search of the park revealed no additional explosives.

Is there any information about Medina’s motives?

As of now, there is no definitive information regarding Medina’s motives. An investigation is ongoing, and the FBI is assisting in reviewing Medina’s phone records and social media activity.

How did law enforcement respond?

Law enforcement conducted a thorough search of the park for additional explosives and investigated Medina’s residence. The FBI is also involved in reviewing Medina’s electronic records as part of the investigation.

What precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of the park going forward?

The park issued a statement emphasizing the importance of community and safety. While specific future safety measures have not been detailed, the incident serves as a poignant reminder for heightened vigilance.

How can someone in crisis seek help?

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available for immediate assistance. One can reach out via phone or text at 988, or through online chat at 988Lifeline.org.

More about Potential Amusement Park Attack

  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Official Statement
  • Garfield County Sheriff’s Office Press Release
  • FBI’s Involvement in Criminal Investigations
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
  • Colorado Mountain College Information
  • Tactical Clothing and Equipment: What Law Enforcement Uses
  • What Are Ghost Guns?
  • Understanding Homemade Explosive Devices

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SamQ October 31, 2023 - 9:40 am

This incident raises so many questions about public safety. I hope the investigation digs deep and some meaningful action is taken.

Lena_W October 31, 2023 - 11:18 am

I’m relieved nobody else was hurt but it’s a tragedy all around. Hope his family finds some sort of peace.

MikeJ October 31, 2023 - 11:53 am

Wow, can’t believe this happened so close to home. Scary stuff, makes u think twice about public places.

SarahD October 31, 2023 - 2:55 pm

Thank God he didn’t go through with it. But it’s unsettling to think he got that far into the park w/ all those weapons. What’s being done to up security??

Ella_K October 31, 2023 - 5:32 pm

this is terrifying. and whats worse is that we don’t even know the motive. makes me wonder how many more ppl like this are out there.

JaniceM October 31, 2023 - 11:17 pm

Seriously, mental health needs more attention in this country. So many signs are missed and people are suffering.

TimR November 1, 2023 - 12:59 am

I’m just glad no one else got hurt. Coulda been a disaster especially with how crowded that place gets.

GaryL November 1, 2023 - 3:17 am

What kind of security does this park have? Guy walks in fully armed and no one notices till he’s gone. Needs fixin’ asap.

KaraS November 1, 2023 - 6:48 am

Our first responders need more resources to prevent this kind of thing. Kudos to the Sheriff’s office for handling it well, given the situation.

RJ_45 November 1, 2023 - 7:53 am

that list of weapons is insane, like out of a movie or something. And ghost guns? what’s that about?


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