Man Charged with One Homicide and Three Attempted Homicides
29 year-old Jonathan Bertsch is in the Missoula County Jail charged with one count of deliberate homicide and three counts of attempted deliberate homicide after a shooting spree late Thursday night that began in Missoula and ended near Evaro.
Julie Blanchard called 9-1-1 at 10:53 p.m. to report that three people had been shot near Lithia Motors on Grizzly Court.
When officers arrived, they found Julie Blanchard and her son Casey wounded and another man, Shelley Hayes deceased from gunshot wounds.
Ms. Blanchard said she went to a bar to pick up her son Casey and his friend Shelley and recalled seeing a white Cadillac Escalade in the parking lot. As they left the parking lot, the Escalade followed and began flashing its headlights. Ms. Blanchard pulled over, thinking the other driver might need help, and when her son got out of the truck, Bertsch opened fire, wounding him several times. Surveillance video from the car dealership showed a man firing at the truck with a handgun.
The search for the vehicle was taken up by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol.
At 12:12 a.m. Montana Highway Patrol trooper Wade Palmer radioed dispatch to say he was under fire at mile marker 7 on Highway 93 North near the Evaro Bar. Trooper Rob Strauch, Missoula Police and Missoula County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Trooper Palmer’s location and found that he had been shot and was unconscious. He was transported to St. Patrick’s Hospital with life threatening injuries.
At 4:24 a.m. a citizen called 9-1-1 to report that a white Escalade was parked on Grooms Road. A Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy made contact with Bertsch and took him into custody without incident.
He is being held without bond in the Missoula County Jail, and will appear in Missoula Justice Court Monday at 2:30 p.m.