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Colorado man with explosives, wearing tactical gear dies at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Man with weapons, wearing tactical gear dies at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Man with weapons, wearing tactical gear dies at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park 02:33

The Garfield County Coroner has identified a man found dressed in tactical gear and surrounded by weapons, ammunition and explosives -- both fake and real -- in the popular Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park as a 20-year-old from Carbondale.

Diego Barajas Medina died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire. 

His body was found in a women's restroom next to a message written on the wall that read, "I am not a killer, I just wanted to get into the caves."

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park CBS

Medina was dressed in black-colored tactical clothing, with patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement, according to the Garfield County Sheriff's Office. 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, said Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario.

Medina was also wearing body armor and what appeared to be a ballistic helmet, according to investigators. Authorities found several fake hand grenades in addition to real and fake pipe bombs, some of which were around his body. The Grand Junction Bomb Squad responded to the scene and rendered the devices safe.

The discovery of Medina's body follows the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine last week, which left 18 dead and another 13 injured.

"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," said Vallario.

The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was swept by members of the bomb squad as well as operators from the Garfield County All Hazard Response Team to ensure no other explosives were planted around the park or rides. Investigators said that no one in the public was at risk and that his actions were limited to the property of Glenwood Caverns.

Guests reach the adventure park by gondola, which could have made it hard to respond to an emergency, said the sheriff.

"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."


Medina had driven a vehicle up an access road to the adventure park after it was closed Friday. It contained "worrisome potential explosives," said the sheriff. He was discovered during the park's pre-opening maintenance and security inspections, the park said in a statement. The death did not take place near any of the park's secure areas and was not related to any rides or attractions, the statement continued.

Glenwood Caverns' ownership said Medina was not a former employee, nor was he known to the park in any way.

"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 Sherriff'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 searched the man's residence to try to determine the extent of his criminal activity, although Colorado court records did not show any criminal past.

Medina lived with his mother and brother in Carbondale, where he had attended school, said the sheriff.

"There was nothing to indicate any type of warning or any type of concern on the part of family, friends," said Vallario, noting that they are still interviewing people who knew Medina.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, located on a mountainside next to the tourist town of Glenwood Springs, is closed through Nov. 9. The winter season for the park begins Nov. 10.

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