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Originally published Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:20 PM

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Private service to honor slain Mount Rainier ranger

A private memorial is planned Tuesday at Mount Rainier for slain Ranger Margaret Anderson, killed by a gunman a year ago.

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PARADISE, Mount Rainier National Park — A private sunrise memorial is planned on New Year's Day at Mount Rainier National Park in honor of a park ranger fatally shot a year ago.

Chief Ranger Chuck Young told The News Tribune (is.gd/PcKicr) that many park employees plan to gather Tuesday morning at Paradise to honor law-enforcement Ranger Margaret Anderson.

Anderson, 34, of Eatonville, Pierce County, was killed as she was setting up a roadblock to stop a fugitive who had driven through a chain-up site at Mount Rainier.

Anderson left behind a husband, Eric Anderson, also a ranger at Mount Rainier, and two daughters, ages 1 and 3. She was the first ranger killed in the line of duty at the national park.

The gunman, ex-soldier Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, had driven to the mountain after a shooting at a house party in Skyway.

The National Park Service review board later determined park officials could not have stopped Barnes, a "disturbed and determined" man, who came to the park "well-armed and prepared to hurt people," from killing Anderson on Jan. 1.

Her actions in trying to stop Barnes after he sped through the mandatory chain-up checkpoint kept Barnes from reaching the crowded Paradise area "and likely saved the lives of many park visitors and staff," the review board said.

After fatally shooting Anderson, Barnes fled on foot. His body was found the next day half-submerged in a creek a mile from where Anderson was killed.

An autopsy showed that Barnes drowned, with hypothermia contributing to his death.

Young says the memorial service is closed to the public and reporters. Park visitors at Paradise who were locked down overnight during the manhunt have been invited.

Planning is under way for a permanent memorial to Anderson and three other Mount Rainier rangers who died in the line of duty, the News Tribune reports. The hope is that the memorial could be dedicated in May.

In June, Nick Hall, a climbing ranger, was killed during a rescue.

And in 1995, climbing rangers Phil Otis and Sean Ryan were killed during a rescue attempt.

Many park workers and visitors believe Anderson's actions may have prevented a mass shooting at Paradise.

Jeremy Best was visiting Paradise last Jan. 1.

"I'm positive she saved my life," he later old The News Tribune.

Material from The Associated Press and The Seattle Times archives

is included in this report.

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