Three Forks, MT - Broadwater County Sheriff's Deputy Mason Moore was murdered during a traffic stop early Tuesday morning, May 16.
The incident occurred shortly before 3 a.m. when Deputy Moore initiated pursuit of a white SUV that wouldn't stop, according to the Missoulian. Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said that dispatchers lost contact with Deputy Moore.
A Gallatin deptuy was sent to his last known location to check on him, and found Deputy Moore's body. He reviewed Deputy Moore's dash camera video and was able to identify the SUV as a 1998 Chevrolet Suburban with California plates. He issued an alert for the vehicle.
Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester said that Butte-Silver Bow county deputies spotted the SUV westbound on I-90 near the Continental Drive interchange about 3:27 a.m. They tried to stop the SUV but the driver refused, and a pursuit was initiated.
At times, the pursuit reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Butte-Silver Bow deputies continued to pursue the vehicle westbound on I-90 through Deer Lodge County and Powell County, and into Granite County. The Montana Highway Patrol deployed spike strips in Powell County at mile marker 162, but the SUV refused to stop, even with punctured tires, according to The Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
The SUV continued west until it reached the Rock Creek area and stopped. The passenger began firing out of the rear window with at least one semiautomatic rifle at deputies. Three Butte-Silver Bow deputies' cruisers were hit by gunfire, and two of them seriously enough to be disabled. Other agencies' vehicles were also reported to have been struck by gunfire.
Gunfire was returned by deputies but it is unclear how many agencies were involved. The passenger, Marshall Barrus, age 39, was shot during the exchange of gunfire, and taken to a Missoula hospital for treatment. His condition is unknown.
The driver of the SUV, Lloyd Barrus, age 61, was arrested and is in custody. He was booked into the Missoula County Jail about 7 a.m. on suspicion of deliberate homicide. The driver, Lloyd Barrus, is the father of the passenger, Marshall Barrus.
Marshall Barrus has previous criminal history in Alaska and Montana, including a conviction for felony criminal mischief and a pending charge of felony burglary, both in Gallatin County, where he lives. He also has previous DUI convictions.
Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the chase. The investigation is being conducted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and the Missoula County Sheriff's Office.
In a social media post, the Helena, Montana Police Department said:
"Barely two hours after the end of Law Enforcement Memorial Day, we learned early this morning a Broadwater County Sheriff's deputy was shot and killed overnight near Three Forks. Details are still coming, but the two suspects involved are in custody outside Missoula after a car chase and a second shooting there. Our thoughts and prayers are with BCSO and families, along with those involved in the second incident in Missoula County..."
Broadwater County Sheriff Wynn Meehan said:
“This is a tremendously sad day for all of us here in Broadwater County. It’s difficult to adequately describe how devastating it feels to lose one of our own in the line of duty. Our deputy died protecting the citizens of our county and displayed remarkable courage until the very end. His actions will never be forgotten.”
Broadwater County Sheriff's Deputy Mason Moore was a three-year veteran of the agency. He leaves behind his wife and three children.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Deputy Moore, both blood and blue. Godspeed, sir, we will take the watch from here. Thank you for your service.
Deputy Moore, your life mattered.