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Man charged with killing two brothers in Three Forks makes initial court appearance

Norman's bail set at $1M
Two men dead: investigation into Three Forks shooting continues
Posted at 10:56 AM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 21:01:10-05

Zachary Eugene Norman of Three Forks, the man accused of shooting and killing two men early Saturday in Three Forks, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Tuesday morning.

Norman, 24 years old, was arrested on two counts of felony deliberate homicide in connection with the shooting that happened on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer identified the victims as brothers Brendan Estabrook of Three Forks, 32, and Chase Estabrook of Butte, 31.

According to court documents, at about 3:28 a.m. on Saturday, Gallatin County Dispatch received calls of a shooting in Three Forks near 6th Ave and Ash street. A second reporting party stated they believed both victims were dead as a result of their wounds.

Two men dead: investigation into Three Forks shooting continues
Two men dead: investigation into Three Forks shooting continues

Gallatin County Sheriff's deputies who responded to the scene learned a man named "Zac" might have been responsible for the shooting.

The three witnesses at the scene were interviewed, with one of them identifying himself as a bartender at the Sacajawea Inn bar. He told the investigator that "Zac" later identified as Zachary Norman, was at the bar, along with the other two witnesses and the two brothers. They all agreed to go over to one of the witness' residence when the bar closed at 2 a.m.

After he finished closing the bar at approximately 3 a.m., the bartender drove to the house and observed Norman arguing with the two victims. A physical altercation reportedly took place, but the bartender told the deputy that he believed the fight had ended when Norman began walking away from the residence, followed by the two victims.

The bartender then heard a "commotion" and saw Norman fighting with the victims near the intersection of 6th Avenue East and East Ash Street. As he approached, he reportedly heard approximately five or six gunshots, followed by a few more gunshots after a brief pause. He then saw Norman flee the scene. The bartender called 911 after discovering the victims suffered what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.

Two men dead, one person in custody after a shooting in Three Forks
Two men dead, one person in custody after a shooting in Three Forks

The other two witnesses told deputies that Norman had begun arguing with the victims, which escalated into a physical altercation. They heard gunshots or loud noises outside after the fight and then discovered the victims near the intersection.

Norman was then detained at this residence after deputies tracked his address by using a records check on a vehicle left in the driveway, and then transported to the Law and Justice Center in Bozeman.

Detectives interviewed Norman, who reportedly told them he and a friend had gone out that night to establishments in the Three Forks area, including the bar. He allegedly told detectives that the next thing he remembered was being woken up by his father who informed him law enforcement needed to speak with him.

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When asked, Norman stated he usually carries a Glock 19 9mm handgun concealed on his person in an inside-the-waistband holster. He reportedly said he always carries his handgun with a cartridge in the chamber and usually has a second magazine on him, but claimed he did not know where his handgun currently was, nor could he remember if he was carrying it that previous night.

According to charging documents, Norman reportedly provided several inconsistent statements, was evasive in his answers, and continued to claim he could not remember any of the events. Later in the interview, detectives reported that Norman admitted he was carrying his handgun concealed on his person when he went to the bar and did remember more of the events of that night.

During the execution of a search warrant at Norman's residence, detectives located a Glock 19 handgun in a plastic, inside-the-waistband holder, with a partially loaded magazine behind the water heater in a closet. Ammunition found in the handgun reportedly appeared to match the spent casings found at the crime scene.

Neighbors who spoke with MTN news say they thought it sounded like fireworks and didn't realize what was going on until they heard and saw law enforcement personnel rushing toward the scene.