More details are emerging about what led to the arrest of a man who law enforcement says was plotting a “violent attack” in Deschutes County over the weekend — possibly targeting a major rock climbing event at Smith Rock State Park.
Samson Garner, 39, was arrested Thursday morning, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) said Friday. He is charged in Deschutes County with multiple counts of attempted murder, attempted assault and firearms charges.
DCSO said it was alerted by the Portland Police Bureau last Tuesday. Deputies were able to track him down in Deschutes County and arrest him. Multiple weapons, including an AR-15 rifle, were allegedly found in his car.
According to court documents, among the people being targeted were listed as “Belayer 1” and “Belayer 2” — references to people who hold safety ropes for climbers. “Spectator 1” and “Spectator 2” were also listed as potential targets.
In addition, a Portland-based nonprofit mountaineering organization Mazamas, confirmed Monday that Garner used to be an active member.
Given all those details, the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office said there was concern that something might happen at the Craggin’ Classic at Smith Rock, which was held Friday through Sunday. However, authorities have not outright stated that Garner was targeting that event.
The motive also remains unclear.
The American Alpine Club in Colorado, which organizes the Craggin’ Classic, released a statement, confirming it was informed a potential threat.
Smith Rock State Park Manager Matt Davey also told Central Oregon Daily News that DCSO warned of a “possible threat to public safety that could have affected people attending the Smith Rock Craggin Classic climbing festival.”
Garner’s next court hearing is set for Friday.