BUTTE — Dramatic testimony on the fourth day of the trial of Lloyd Barrus, charged in connection with the murder of Broadwater County Sheriff's Deputy Mason Moore in May 2017.
Butte Police Officer Tim Berger was in hot pursuit of a vehicle whose occupants - Lloyd Barrus and his son Marshall Barrus - were suspects in Moore's murder.
The officer started taking gunfire from the suspect's vehicle as they were traveling at more than 100 miles per hour on Interstate 90. A bullet penetrated the hood and disabled the patrol car. The gunfire from the suspect's vehicle also disabled a patrol car driven by Berger’s fellow officer Rich O’Brien.
Berger testified that he didn’t realize how close to death he’d come until afterward.
“In the moment, I really didn’t feel much of anything, it was more caught up in the chase and your adrenaline is going; afterwards, when I got a chance to talk to Richie, told him to go call his wife because … sorry … because I told him how she doesn’t want to find out on Facebook,” said Berger as he struggled with emotion.
Butte officers, along with other officers, would eventually have a shootout with Lloyd and Marshall on the interstate in Missoula County. Lloyd was taken into custody and Marshall later died from gunshot wounds.
Lloyd is on trial facing a felony charge of deliberate homicide by accountability. He also faces two counts of attempted deliberate homicide in connection with his alleged role in shooting at pursuing officers.
Berger believes the driver assisted the gunman in trying to kill him.
“The driver was not making any maneuvers to throw off the person shooting, he wasn’t jerking the wheel, he wasn’t swerving—he was going just nice and easy, helping the shooter get better sight, picture on what he’s shooting at,” said Berger.
More law enforcement officers are expected to be called by the prosecution to take the stand Wednesday morning beginning at 9 a.m.
- Prosecution: Barrus intended to help his son kill deputy
- Officers tearfully recall shooting death of Deputy Moore
Deputy Moore was 42 years old when he was killed, and survived by his wife Jodi and three children. Jodi created the Mason Moore Foundation which provides grants to law enforcement agencies for programs or special equipment that may not be available through the standard governmental funding process.