A 20-year-old man who was heavily armed with guns and explosives killed himself at a Colorado amusement park on Saturday morning, before carrying out an apparent plan to attack the park, authorities said.
The man, identified as Joshua Michael Bollinger, had broken into Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park while it was closed and shot himself in the head, according to Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario. He was wearing body armor and tactical clothing with law enforcement-like patches, and had four guns, several magazines, and two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with him.
“We believe that he intended to do something terrible here today, but we don’t know what that was or why he chose this location,” Sheriff Vallario said at a news conference on Sunday.
He added that Bollinger had left a message on a bathroom wall saying he was not a killer and just wanted to get into the caves. He also wrote that he had no motive and no target.
The park, which features a roller coaster, a zip line, and cave tours, was shut down over the weekend as authorities searched for more bombs and his home. No other explosives or weapons were found at the park or his residence, Sheriff Vallario said.
The owner of the park, Steve Beckley, said he was deeply saddened by the tragic event and expressed his condolences to Bollinger’s family and friends.
“We are very grateful that no one else was hurt or killed in this incident,” he said in a statement.
Bollinger’s father, James Bollinger, told CNN that his son was a very quiet and lonely person who had no history of mental illness or violence. He said he did not know why his son would do such a thing and that he had no signs of trouble.
“He was a very quiet kid. He didn’t talk much. He didn’t have many friends. He was kind of a loner,” James Bollinger said.
He also said that his son had recently bought some guns legally and that he did not know where he got the explosives from.
Glenwood Springs Police Chief Joseph Deras said that Bollinger had enough ammunition and explosives to cause a lot of damage if he had been able to enter the park and get on the tram with people.
“He had enough ammunition and enough explosives that had he been able to enter the park and had he been able to get on that tram with people, we’re looking at a whole different situation,” Chief Deras said.
He also said that Bollinger had no criminal record or any known ties to extremist groups or ideologies.
Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes said that this was a very rare occurrence in their community and that they were very fortunate that no one else was hurt or killed.
“This is a very rare occurrence. We don’t see this kind of thing happen very often in our community. We’re very fortunate that no one else was hurt or killed,” Mayor Godes said.
– Police say armed man killed himself instead of carrying out apparent plan to attack amusement park, New York Post, 10/31/2023
– Heavily armed man found dead at Colorado amusement park, officials say he may have been planning a devastating attack, CNN, 10/31/2023
– Man brought guns, IEDs to Colorado amusement park before dying by suicide: What to know, MSN, 10/31/2023
– Man kills himself instead of carrying out US amusement park shooting, police say, The Guardian, 10/30/2023