Montana Highway Patrol Trooper in Critical Condition after Shooting
Early in the morning of March 15, near the Evaro Bar and Casino, 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 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 6:15am 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 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 lifesaving 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.