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Joe Kolodoski Great Smoky Mountain National Park Ranger

Joe Kolodski was 36 when a gunman shot him with a rifle that passed through his protective vest. Mr. Kolodski was killed about 6 miles outside of the park while responding to a report of a man with a gun threatening visitors at the Big Witch overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Kolodski was airlifted from the scene to the University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville where he later died. 
He is the first Park Ranger to be killed on duty in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 58 year history. The Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the U.S..

More than 70 officers, rangers, and FBI agents descended on the location to search for the shooter. Four hours later Jeremiah Locust Sr. was taken into custody on suspicion of murder. He was unarmed at the time of his arrest but a weapon thought to be used in the murder was found. He was later sentenced to life in prison.


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