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FBI checking social media, cellphone of Colorado man found dead with guns & explosives 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 20-year-old Colorado man found dead over the weekend at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park "was well intended to do something very heinous," according to the Garfield County Sheriff, but so far what his reasons may have been for collecting extensive weaponry for a possible attack is a mystery.

It's also not clear why some of the explosives he had were fake and others, including pipe bombs, were real and capable of causing great harm.

It's believed the man shot himself early on Saturday after trespassing into the amusement park on Friday night.

Social media, cellphone of man found dead with explosives in Colorado park being checked 00:37

"Given the preparation, given the amount of weapons and the amount of ordnance he had it almost seemed highly likely that he intended to use those against the community," Sheriff Lou Vallario said.

The FBI and other agencies are now helping Garfield County authorities with checking the social media posts and cellphone records of the man, Diego Barajas Medina, as part of their investigation.

The coroner's office released Barajas Medina's name on Monday after a lengthy Zoom call Vallario had with reporters about what happened.

Diego Barajas Medina, who police say killed himself at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Colorado, is pictured in his senior photo in his high school yearbook  in 2021. Sopris Sun

"We took notice right away. This wasn't an ordinary potential suicide. This gentleman was carrying a large amount of weapons. And then subsequently we also found some explosive devices. Some of those explosive devices were fake but some of those explosive devices were also real," Vallario said.

Man was "under the radar" as he collected weapons and explosives

The sheriff says from their initial interviews with family and friends it appears there was no warning sign of any plan for violence. The man lived with his mother and brother in Carbondale, about a half-hour drive from the tourist town of Glenwood Springs. He didn't have a criminal record and there apparently wasn't even a history of the man ever getting any citations such as a speeding ticket.

"Speaking with family and doing a search on his room at his home, we don't see any history, we don't see any reason. We don't see any motive," Vallario said. "He was just completely under the radar."

Further interviews will be taking place with school classmates and teachers "in order to find out what caused this person to do what he did."   

A high school friend of Barajas Medina's told CBS Colorado, "he was a quiet kid ... kind to everybody."

The friend, who doesn't want to be identified publicly, said there were no obvious mental health issues he saw during high school and although he had not seen Barajas Medina in a couple of years, he had not heard of problems. 

"He was more of isolating himself," said the friend. Barajas Medina, who went mostly by the single last name "Barajas," posted in his yearbook that he wanted to take a gap year and then attend Colorado Mountain College. But he was not enrolled after high school. 

The Roaring Fork School District confirmed Tuesday that Barajas Medina graduated from Roaring Fork High School in 2021.

Colorado Mountain College says he attended college-level classes from Colorado Mountain College between August 2019 and May 2020 but on the campus of Roaring Fork High, where high school students are able to take college-level courses. He did not attend college after graduating high school graduation.

The school district and the college say they can share no further info than his attendance.  

Another part of the investigation is focused on the ghost guns he had. That included an AR-style rifle and a semi-automatic handgun. Both had several magazines. Such homemade weapons are untraceable and are generally made with a 3D printer or assembled from a kit.

Body was found in a women's restroom

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is located on a mountainside next to Glenwood Springs in Colorado's high country. Customers get to the park by taking a gondola. The park is currently closed for the season and the lifts are closed, so it appears the man drove up a service road, parked his car and then trespassed into the park.


 A maintenance crew found the body in a women's rest room and on the wall of a stall the words "I am not a killer" were written. No note or letter was found near the body.

The man was wearing black clothing and a ballistic vest. Authorities say he resembled a member of police SWAT team or some sort of military group.

"I can tell you that when I first saw this, it was definitely a realization that this type of danger has come to quiet Glenwood Springs, Colorado and fortunately for whatever reason -- we may never know -- although he was very highly prepared, very highly weaponized, whatever his preparation was he chose instead, as we believe at this point, to commit suicide," Vallario said.

Bombs were detonated as amusement park was checked

For two days the general public in Glenwood Springs wasn't fully aware that a potentially very dangerous situation had been averted in their community, although the sheriff's office did send out a tweet saying there was "Heavy police activity at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park" and to stay away from the area.

Some concerned residents did report hearing an explosion up on the mountain. In his revealing question-and-answer session with reporters on Monday, the sheriff said that was the Grand Junction Bomb Squad detonating one of the explosives found in the man's car or near his body.

"We basically went through a very slow and methodical investigation, not knowing what was real and what was fake. Not knowing what he may have done as far as his steps the evening before when he illegally entered the property," Vallario said.

The explosives the man brought up to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park included pipe bombs, fake IEDs, a package with a real explosive device and fake grenades.

"We had to do a step-by-step ... search of both his vehicle, the property -- to make sure that nobody would be in danger at the caverns when they reopened -- and then as well as his body, to make sure that he didn't have any type of explosives or type of booby traps."

The man was not an employee of the park and doesn't appear to have had any special ties to it.

The amusement park, which includes rides and cave tours, is set to open in mid-November for the winter season.

"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," General Manager Nancy Heard said in a statement.

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