A man died at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park over the weekend after he illegally entered the park in the Colorado high country after hours when no employees or people were present, law enforcement officials say.
The man has been identified as a 20-year-old from the nearby town of Carbondale, although officials did not immediately release his name. A cause of death has also not been released but the Garfield County Coroner is investigating the death as a suicide.
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.”
According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the man was dressed in black-colored tactical clothing, with patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement. The suspect 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.
He was wearing body armor and what appeared to be a ballistic helmet, according to investigators. Multiple improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, were discovered with the suspect and a vehicle associated with him. Authorities also found several fake hand grenades in addition to the real and fake pipe bombs. The Grand Junction Bomb Squad responded to the scene and they rendered the devices safe.
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 IEDs 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.
“While this investigation is still ongoing and very active it is important to realize that given the amount of weaponry, ammunition, and explosive devices found, the suspect could have implemented an attack of devastating proportions upon our community and first responders,” said Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Walt Stowe.
The man trespassed onto the property overnight while it was closed and was discovered during the park’s pre-opening maintenance and security inspections, Glenwood Caverns 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.
“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.
In 2021,at the Haunted Mine Drop attraction. A criminal investigation resulted in prosecutors declining to charge park workers, but a civil lawsuit was filed by the girl’s family in 2022, which is still ongoing. The state of Colorado did, however, fine the park $68,000, saying workers failed to ensure she was properly buckled in when they started the ride.
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.