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Montana Highway Patrol Trooper in critical condition after shooting

Posted: 9:58 AM, Mar 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-15 11:59:19-04

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Montana Highway Patrol reports that the trooper who was shot early Friday morning near the Evaro Bar and Casino is in critical condition.

According to a press release, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer located a suspected vehicle matching the description of one involved in a Missoula shooting before midnight.

Trooper Alex Hiday was the next officer to arrive on the scene. Hiday found Palmer still seat-belted in his patrol car and that he had been shot. The suspect had fled the scene.

Hiday and a Missoula Police Department officer transported Palmer to an ambulance at the intersection of Highway 93 and Interstate 90. Palmer is in critical condition at St. Patrick Hospital.

After an extensive manhunt, at approximately 6:15 am the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office took the suspect, Jonathan Bertsch, into custody without incident.

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

Palmer has been with the Patrol since 2012. He is stationed in Detachment 112 in Missoula. In 2015, he was awarded the Patrol’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor, for his heroic life saving efforts at the scene of a multiple-vehicle crash involving a mother and her young children in December 2014. Trooper Palmer has a wife and two young children.