NBC Montana: SW Montana deputy killed in shootout identified

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office identified Mason Moore as the deputy who was killed in a shootout early Tuesday morning.

Moore was 42 years old and a three-year veteran of the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office. He was a husband and a father of three children.

A procession of Montana law enforcement vehicles escorted Moore’s body to the morgue at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings for an autopsy. The procession arrived in Billings at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Firefighters raised a large American flag from a ladder truck as the procession moved up North 27th Street.

Montana Highway Patrol reopened all lanes of Interstate 90, east of Missoula, after the high-speed pursuit and shootout. 

Missoula County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Brenda Bassett says the incident started outside Three Forks around 1 a.m. She says two suspects got into a shootout with law enforcement during a traffic stop, and the deputy was killed.

Authorities issued an alert, and Montana Highway Patrol troopers spotted the vehicle near Anaconda. A high-speed chase ensued with speeds topping 100 mph.

MHP laid spike strips at mile marker 162 in Powell County, but the suspects were able to go about 30 more miles, stopping east of Rock Creek. At that point, Bassett says the passenger left the vehicle and shot at multiple officers. The suspect was shot and taken to the hospital. 

“We had multiple jurisdictions on the scene that had joined or been part of an initial part of the pursuit. Multiple vehicles were hit. Luckily no officers were hit, but the suspect ended up being shot and transported to a local hospital,” Missoula County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said.

Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office confirmed 61-year-old Lloyd Barrus and 38-year-old Marshall Barrus were the two suspects involved in the pursuit and shootout.

Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester said in a press release the suspects were firing at officers with at least one semi-automatic rifle.  Gunfire damaged patrol cars, making at least two inoperable.

Lester reports one of the suspects was wounded in the head as officers returned gunfire.  The second suspect has a gunshot-related injury to his hand. 

Multiple agencies are on-scene collecting evidence. Highway 287, where the shooting took place, also remains an active crime scene. 

“We’ll be assisting the state, and we’ll go through and try and piece together exactly what happened and how it occurred, collect that evidence, and once we’ve done that we’ll have a better idea of what exactly happened,” Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said.

Sentiments from the law enforcement community remain strong.

“At the end of the day we get to go home to our people, and Broadwater County doesn’t. There’s not really words you can say when you lose an officer like that. It’s a small agency and we just send our thoughts and prayers. We ask the public to do the same,” Bassett said.