MHP Trooper in critical condition following Missoula shooting

Posted at 10:00 AM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 16:28:20-04
Trooper Wade Palmer, Montana Department of Justice

UPDATE 10:00 a.m.: The Montana Department of Justice says the Montana Highway Patrol Trooper shot overnight is in critical condition.

According to the Montana DOJ, Trooper Wade Palmer was shot near the Evaro Bar and Casino after locating a vehicle matching the description of one wanted following a separate shooting in Missoula earlier that evening.

A second responding Trooper found Palmer in his patrol with his seatbelt still fastened.

The Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation and the Missoula Sheriff’s Office are investigating.

The Department of Justice says Trooper Palmer has been with the Highway Patrol since 2012. In 2015 he was awarded the Medal of Valor for his response to a multi-vehicle crash involving a mother and young children. The Medal of Valor is MHP’s highest honor.

Trooper Palmer is married with two young children.

MISSOULA – A suspect in a pair of overnight shootings in Missoula and Evaro has been captured after an extensive, hours-long, search.

The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office reports that at approximately 6:15 a.m. the Special Response Team took Johnathan Bertsch into custody without incident.

He was arrested in the 16000 block of Thornburg Way in the Evaro area.

Earlier on Friday morning, the Montana Highway Patrol confirmed that a trooper was shot and taken to a Missoula hospital as a result of the incident in the Evaro area.

There is no word on the trooper’s condition.

Missoula Police received the initial call shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday night, with reports of gunfire and that multiple people had been shot near the Stone Creek Lodge, at Expressway and Tanager Way.

Missoula Police Department spokesman Sgt. Travis Welsh says when the first officers rolled up, they confirmed two people who’d been shot, and a third, uninjured person who had made the 9-1-1 call.

We will have more information on this developing story as it becomes available.