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Crater Lake names rangers who shot camper in 2005

CRATER LAKE — Officials have released the names of two Crater Lake National Park rangers involved in the shooting of a camper in 2005.

The National Park Service would not reveal the names following the death of Ronn M. Ward, 38, of Sunnyvale, Calif. But Dave Brennan, Crater Lake's chief ranger, said the rangers are now comfortable with the release of their names, and doing so is an important step toward "healing and closure."

"The sharing of this information, including the names of the involved rangers, can also help prevent an officer from carrying the burden of a line of duty shooting alone in his or her private life," Brennan said in the National Park Service Morning Report.

Seasonal ranger Pieter Sween and supervisory ranger Peter Reinhardt were long ago cleared of any wrongdoing.

The rangers had responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding an argument between Ward and his girlfriend at the Mazama Campground. Ward was drunk, had a history of domestic violence and assaulted his girlfriend before the rangers arrived, according to a review by the U.S. Attorney's office.

Ward threatened to kill the rangers and brandished a heavy wooden club. He ignored repeated warnings to drop the weapon and kept advancing on the rangers after pepper spray failed to stop him, according to the review.

Sween shot Ward twice at close range.

Though investigations found the pair acted within the scope of their duties and in full compliance with National Park Service policies, Brennan said the names were not released in 2005 because officials felt it would not be in the rangers' best interest.

"It was very much a balancing decision," Brennan said. "What information do you release? We didn't want to place unwanted public attention on their lives."

Sween now works at another park.

Reinhardt is still at Crater Lake. He said he wants to put the incident behind him.

— The Associated Press