Rock Climber Arrested for Planning Major Mass Shooting at Festival

BEND, Ore. — A 39-year-old rock climber has been arrested on charges of attempted murder and other offenses after allegedly planning a mass shooting at a climbing festival in Oregon.

The suspect, identified as Samson Zebturiah Garner, was apprehended by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. Law enforcement recovered multiple firearms from Garner, including three handguns and an AR-15. The weapons were seized under an extreme risk protection order, ensuring their removal for at least a year. The motive behind the alleged plot remains unclear, as investigators found journal entries indicating a “generalized anger” rather than specific targets.

Garner, a resident of Portland, has a background in information technology and was an active member of the Mazamas, a mountaineering education nonprofit. However, his involvement with the group had been limited since 2018. The Mazamas expressed shock and concern over the situation, emphasizing the importance of trust and safety within their community.

The planned attack was reportedly aimed at the Smith Rock Craggin Classic, a three-day climbing festival organized by the American Alpine Club. Authorities became aware of the threat after receiving tips from acquaintances of Garner. Deschutes County District Attorney Steve Gunnels praised the swift action of law enforcement, noting that Garner had driven several hours to Deschutes County and was armed when apprehended.

While Garner does not have a significant criminal history in Oregon, the investigation into the mass shooting plot is ongoing. However, authorities believe that Garner acted alone and that there are no further threats to the community. He is scheduled to be arraigned on October 27.

The incident highlights the importance of vigilance and the role of community members in reporting potential threats. Law enforcement agencies are urging the public to remain alert and report any suspicious activities or information that could help prevent future acts of violence.