DENVER (KDVR) — Police say the heavily armed man who was found dead inside a Colorado theme park over the weekend had likely planned to use those weapons in an attack on the community.
The man, identified as 20-year-old Diego Barajas Medina, was found dead inside the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park prior to the park’s opening on Saturday morning, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
A coroner later confirmed Medina’s cause of death to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Medina was found dressed in black-colored tactical clothing, bearing patches and emblems that gave the appearance of someone with law enforcement. He was heavily armed with a semi-automatic rifle, semi-automatic handgun, multiple loaded magazines and explosive devices, authorities said. He was also wearing body armor and a ballistic helmet, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Given the preparation, given the amount of weapons and ordinance he had it almost seemed very highly likely he intended to use those against the community. He chose not to,” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said.
Vallario added that investigators found a message written on the wall of the bathroom where Medina’s body was found, reading, “I am not a killer, I just wanted to get into the caves.” Vallario could not say for certain whether Medina wrote the message.
A search of Medina’s car turned up additional improvised explosive devices. Following the investigation, several members of the bomb squad swept the grounds to ensure no other explosive devices were planted around the park or rides.
The park likely would have been crowded on a fall weekend during hunting season when people go to the mountains to see the changing autumn colors, Vallario said. Given the park’s isolated location, which visitors take a gondola to normally, it would have been difficult to get any wounded to the hospital, he added.
“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,” the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a news release issued Monday.
Medina was from the nearby town of Carbondale, where he lived with his mother and brother, according to Vallario. A search of his room by law enforcement found nothing to indicate explosives or bomb-making, and he had no known criminal history or prior encounters with police, the sheriff said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.