A Montana sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed during an early morning traffic stop Tuesday.
Broadwater County sheriff’s deputy Mason Moore was shot and killed Tuesday morning near Three Forks. Two Belgrade men — a father and a son — are being held after a shootout with police.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin says Broadwater County dispatch lost contact with Moore shortly after he radioed-in to announce he was initiating a routine traffic stop:
“The dispatcher was unable to get a hold of the deputy, contacted us, and Highway Patrol was first on scene. We [Gallatin County] was second on scene. We found the deputy had been shot and killed. We immediately called for backup. We had no information and no one else was on scene.”
So the first responders turned to technology to identify the suspects:
“We got the camera out of the police car," Gootkin says. "We were able to identify the vehicle and get the information out across the state. That’s when Butte-Silverbow located the vehicle and that’s when they started to pursue.”
Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester says the suspects fired shots at officers who pursued them for over 100 miles across parts of five counties.
The chase ended about 35 miles east of Missoula.
Officers say the passenger, 39-year-old Marshall Barrus of Belgrade, got out of the vehicle and shot at officers who returned fire and wounded him.
Barrus’ father, 61-year-old Lloyd Barrus, was arrested on suspicion of deliberate homicide.
Gallatin County Sheriff Gootkin says 38-year-old Deputy Mason Moore is survived by his wife and three children:
“Do me a favor and if you see a peace officer around, smile and wave at them. We could use it this week,” Gootkin says.
Montana’s U.S. Senators Jon Tester, Steve Daines and Montana Attorney General Tim Fox all released statements honoring Mason Moore’s sacrifice and memory.
Moore had been a deputy for three years and is the 129th Montana law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty since 1878.