OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
12:05 PM – Tuesday, October 31, 2023
An armed man carrying tactical gear and explosives has been found dead at the popular Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Colorado. Authorities claimed that the suspect “could have implemented an attack of devastating proportions.”
On Saturday morning, the amusement park’s maintenance crew discovered the man’s deceased body in a women’s restroom next to a message written on the wall that said, “I am not a killer, I just wanted to get into the caves.”
His body was discovered before the park was opened to the public.
The Garfield County Coroner identified the man, who was found dressed in tactical gear and surrounded by weapons, ammunition, and explosives, as 22-year-old Diego Barajas Medina.
Medina died of a “self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario also made a statement, sharing more information about the armed man.
“Medina was dressed in black-colored tactical clothing, with patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement,” Vallario said. “He was heavily armed with a semi-automatic rifle and semi-automatic handgun and multiple loaded magazines for both weapons. The guns were ghost guns or self-made weapons.”
“Given the preparation, given the amount of weapons and ordinance he had, it almost seemed very highly likely he intended to use those against the community. He chose not to,” Vallario said.
Additionally, investigators stated that Medina was wearing body armor and what seemed to be a ballistic helmet. They also claimed that they found several artificial hand grenades, along with real and fake pipe bombs. Some of these were in the vicinity of his body when he was found.
“This level of armament exceeded that. Now again, some of it was fake, some of it was novelty hand grenades, but the amount of ammunition, the amount of the AR, the handgun, the magazines, the fact that he actually did have explosives,” Vallario said.
The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was cleared out by members of the bomb squad, along with operators from the Garfield County All Hazard Response Team to make sure that no additional explosives were placed around the park or rides.
However, authorities stated that no one in the public was in danger and that Medina’s actions were “limited” to the property of Glenwood Caverns.
The sheriff also said that guests get into the adventure park via a gondola ride, which could have potentially made it difficult to respond to an emergency.
“You’re on the top of a mountain, there’s a lot of people, it’s hilly terrain,” Vallario said. “If he had gone through with the worst-case scenario, it could have been devastating — if for no other reason — just trying to get aid and help and the number of first responders up there let alone get a number of victims down the mountain.”
The adventure park said in a statement that Medina had driven a vehicle up an access road to the park after it was closed on Friday, and it included “worrisome potential explosives.”
The statement also mentioned that Medina’s death did not occur near any of the park’s secure locations and was not affiliated with any rides or attractions.
The park added that Medina was not affiliated with the company in any way and was not a former employee.
“This very sad and tragic incident reminds us how much our Glenwood Springs community means to us,” said General Manager Nancy Heard. “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. Thank you for all you do.”
Investigators also looked through the man’s home to try and determine the extent of his potential criminal activity. However, Colorado’s court records did not depict a criminal background.
“There was nothing to indicate any type of warning or any type of concern on the part of family, friends,” said Vallario, highlighting that they are still in the process of interviewing people who knew Medina.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which is located on a mountainside next to the town of Glenwood Springs, is now closed through November 9th. The winter season for the park begins on November 10th.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can be reached by calling or texting 988 or through chatting at 988Lifeline.org.
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