Portland Man Arrested, Accused of Planning to Kill Multiple Climbers

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A 39-year-old Portland man, Samson Zebturiah Garner, was arrested Thursday on attempted murder and other charges after evidence suggested he was planning a shooting attack on climbers. Although the authorities would not confirm the exact location of the planned attack, it likely would have occurred in Smith Rock during the annual American Alpine Club Craggin’ Classic, which began yesterday.

According to the Bend Bulletin, two people who know Garner informed the Portland Police that Garner had been making statements about causing harm to climbers in Deschutes County. On Monday, the Portland Police Bureau notified Deschutes County detectives of the planned attack, and the detectives worked throughout the week to gather evidence. The American Alpine Club was informed of the possible attack on Wednesday. After it was determined that Garner drove from Multnomah County to Deschutes County on Thursday, he was taken into custody via Deschutes County SWAT Team members. Evidence of the planned attack was found in Garner’s vehicle, including Beretta and Sig Sauer 9 mm handguns and an AR-15 rifle.

Investigators believe Garner planned to kill multiple people. While their names were not released, the District Attorney’s report lists victims as “Belayer 1,” “Belayer 2,” and “Spectator 1,” and “Spectator 2.” Garner was charged on four counts of attempted murder, eight counts of first-degree attempted assault, and 15 counts of unlawful use of a weapon. He is being held on a $10 million bail.

Authorities believe Garner was working alone, so the Craggin’ Classic has proceeded as planned.

AAC President Ben Gabriel released a statement on October 23, which can be read in full here.

Outside has reached out to the Mazamas, as well as the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office. We will update this story as more information is available.

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