Yellowstone Shooter Took Woman Hostage, Held Her At Gunpoint: Scanner Recording

The Yellowstone contract worker who injured a park ranger and was killed in a shootout on July 4 held a female hostage at gunpoint prior to his death, according to a recording of a "be-on-the lookout" notice aired on the Park County dispatch system hours before.

Clair McFarland

July 08, 20244 min read

Samson Fussner and yellowstone swat 7 7 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The Yellowstone National Park contract worker who injured a park ranger and was killed in a shootout on Independence Day allegedly held a female hostage at gunpoint prior to his death, according to a recording of a be-on-the lookout (BOLO) notice aired on the Park County dispatch system that day. 

“Looks like he held a female hostage by gunpoint and threatened suicide by cop,” says the dispatcher, in the recording. 

The recording is authentic, and consists of a Park County dispatcher reading the Yellowstone authorities’ alert to Cody-area law enforcement, Park County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Monte McClain confirmed to Cowboy State Daily on Sunday. 

The gunman, Samson Lucas Bariah Fussner, 28 of Florida, was an employee of Xanterra, a company offering hotel and other services within Yellowstone National Park. 

He had threatened to shoot up a fireworks show somewhere in West Yellowstone, Montana, or another part of Montana, the dispatcher read. 

“He’s believed to have a pistol and possibly other, larger weapons in his possession, as well as a knife,” the dispatcher said, adding that Fussner was presumed to be alone, in that alert.

He told agents to be on the lookout for Fussner leaving Yellowstone, possibly in the Cody direction, in a silver Nissan Rogue with Florida license plates. 

But Fussner did not leave the Canyon Village area where the incident started, McClain related from what he’s been told. McClain reiterated that the incident did not make it into Park County jurisdiction.

He said the BOLO likely aired near “the middle of the night” overnight Wednesday and Thursday. 

Greg Jackson of NPS Ranger News posted the recording to his page on Sunday, citing Broadcastify as its archiver.

Watch on YouTube

Started Wednesday 

The incident started overnight Wednesday, according to an official statement from Yellowstone National Park. 

It culminated Thursday morning in a shootout that killed Fussner and injured a park ranger. 

Guests camping in Canyon Village told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that they heard numerous shots and watched park rangers rush to the area.

One couple estimated 100 gunshots. 

About an hour after the gunshots, park authorities dispatched a cellphone ping saying there was no longer any danger, four guests said. 

The ranger was in stable condition as of Thursday afternoon. 

Yellowstone has not yet issued an update. 

Xanterra did not respond Friday to an inquiry about Fussner being an employee, and having taken a hostage. 

The FBI, which is investigating, declined to comment Friday, citing the active investigation. 

Clear Out 

The lodges and campgrounds that were still open in the Canyon Village area Friday were being evacuated Saturday morning, and new guests were told to turn around.

The clearing out followed a tense scene Friday evening in which the short and bustling Xanterra staff tried to accommodate tourists, but mentioned that federal agents were occupying many rooms. 

With the food accommodations taped off for the investigation, guests attended a complimentary buffet dinner in one of the lodges Friday. 

Three travelers have written to Cowboy State Daily saying they were turned away or turned out Saturday.

“Because of (the incident) we are closing our Lodges to allow our employees time to digest what has happened and heal,” reads a photograph of a note one of the travelers shared. “While this is happening, we are not equipped to continue service at this location. We will reopen Monday at the earliest.”

The company apologized and told the lodge tenant to check out by 11 a.m. It said it would reimburse their alternate lodging up to $300, according to another note the traveler shared.

A person staying on the campground said a park attendant visited camp sites and asked campers to leave.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter