Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park armed intruder was carrying ghost guns: police

DENVER (KDVR) — The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday the man who was found dead inside Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in October was carrying “ghost guns” and had been visiting websites discussing mass shootings.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office released a full narrative of the Oct. 28, 2023, incident as it unfolded for the agency.

According to GCSO, the man found in the park, 20-year-old Diego Barajas Medina, was described by friends, family and school officials with Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale (which he graduated from in 2021) as “being a bit of a loner.”

GCSO said he lived “quietly” with his mother and brother in Carbondale and had no prior history with law enforcement.

“In the end, Diego took his own life in the women’s restroom at the Amusement Park for reasons known only to him,” the agency wrote in its report. “Before taking his life, he wrote on one of the restroom walls, ‘I’m not a killer, I just wanted to get in the cave.’”

No outward signs of mental instability, considering attack

GCSO also found that Barajas Medina had no contact with mental health services and did not believe he was working with anyone else regarding the Glenwood Caverns incident.

While the agency was investigating at the park, officers also searched Medina’s residence and cleared the home from any threat.

“(T)here was no reason to believe that he was a threat to others,” GCSO stated.

Previously, the agency said they believed he was planning a “heinous” attack at the amusement park. When he arrived at the park, it was before it opened, or before any employees had arrived for work.

However, a search of Barajas Medina’s phone and computer showed visits to several sites discussing mass shootings. Investigators still do not know why Barajas Medina amassed his arsenal, nor did it explain what happened to change his mind and why he did not follow through with “whatever he was planning,” the report states.

A toxicology report on Barajas Medina showed he had no alcohol or illegal drugs in his system.

Barajas Medina was found dressed in black tactical clothing “bearing patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement,” according to GCSO.

Park intruder was heavily armed with ‘ghost guns’

Barajas Medina was also wearing body armor, and what police say appeared to be a ballistic helmet and was carrying a semi-automatic rifle and a semi-automatic handgun with multiple loaded magazines for each weapon and several hundred rounds of ammunition.

He also had multiple improvised explosive devices on or near his body, according to law enforcement.

GCSO said similar devices were found in a vehicle that Barajas Medina parked on the premises and appeared to use to get to the park. Some of the devices were “decoys,” but all needed to be considered active until properly neutralized, which was completed by the Grand Junction Bomb Squad.

The bomb squad and Garfield County All Hazards Response Team spent two days sweeping the park to ensure no other devices were present.

GCSO found that Barajas Medina’s weapons, ammunition and equipment were legally acquired by ordering items from various internet sites. This included the two semi-automatic guns that were determined to be “ghost guns,” which are unregulated, unserialized and untraceable firearms that GCSO said anyone can buy and build without a background check.

Investigators were unable to find any ties between Barajas Medina and the park.

“The Sheriff’s Office acknowledges that given amount of weaponry, ammunition, and explosive devices found, Diego could have implemented an attack of devastating proportions on our community resulting in multiple injuries and possibly death to members of the public as well as first responders,” the agency wrote in its report. “As a community, we are fortunate and thankful that this did not happen.”

The agency thanked the numerous other agencies that aided in the investigation, including the United States Postal Inspectors, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, the Garfield County Coroner and the Carbondale Police Department.

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