details Crater Lake shooting
July 30, 2005
By MARK FREEMAN
Crater Lake National Park authorities say it took less than two
minutes for a California man’s encounter with park rangers to
escalate from a domestic disturbance to a fatal shooting.
National Park Service authorities Friday identified the dead man
as Ronn Merl Ward, 38, of Sunnyvale, a San Francisco Bay Area
Ward threatened the two rangers with a two-foot-long club that
had a large knot at the end and ran through a cloud of pepper
spray to within 10 feet of one ranger before he was shot dead by
the other, authorities said.
"He was holding it above his head and charging toward the
rangers telling them he was going to kill them," park spokesman
William "Mac" Brock said Friday.
rangers first encountered Ward at 10:08 p.m. at the trailer he
was sharing with his unidentified girlfriend in the D Loop
section of the Mazama Campground, Brock said.
The rangers radioed into their dispatcher at 10:10 p.m. that
Ward was shot, Brock said.
"His agitation and hostility escalated very, very quickly,"
An autopsy was scheduled for late Friday at the morgue within
the Oregon State Police facilities in Central Point. The results
were not available Friday.
Brock declined to say whether drugs or alcohol were believed to
be involved in the case, but a toxicology screen was scheduled
to be part of the autopsy.
"Right now, that’s all subject to more investigation," Brock
Park officials Friday continued to decline to reveal the
identities of the rangers, who were placed on "restrictive duty"
status and were assisting in the investigation, Brock said.
National Park Service special agents and the Oregon State Police
were conducting a criminal investigation. Brock said another
park service special agent was conducting an administrative
investigation to determine whether the use of fatal force was
justifiable under park service protocols.
While officials confirmed that the ranger fired twice, Brock
declined to reveal where or how many times Ward was hit.
Brock said the club was a heavy "imposing type of club" that was
purchased, possibly locally.
Ward’s girlfriend was not charged with a crime and was released,
Ward has no criminal record in Oregon, and California records
were not available here Friday.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail email@example.com.