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Julie Blanchard's death ruled a homicide

Blanchard was shot in March in Missoula
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Posted at 8:20 AM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 11:43:54-04

MISSOULA — The official cause of death for a victim in the March shootings in Missoula that killed two people and critically injured two others, including a Montana Highway Patrol trooper, has been ruled a homicide.

The Chelan County, Washington coroner reported Julie Blanchard died of complications of multiple gunshot wounds to her chest and her torso.

Coroner Wayne Harris told MTN News after reviewing medical records from three hospitals where Julie was treated and studying the autopsy, x-rays, tissue samples and blood toxicology test results, the pathologist could only state the cause of death as homicide.

Blanchard died June 3 in a Washington state hospital.

Julie Blanchard, her son Casey Blanchard, and Shelley Hays were shot on March 14 off Expressway Boulevard when they pulled over after noticing a vehicle behind them had flashing lights on.

That's when prosecutors say the suspect, Johnathan Bertsch, opened fire on them. Shelley Hays died on the scene. Both Casey and Julie Blanchard were transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds.

Bertsch was later arrested near Evaro and accused of shooting Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer. Both Casey Blanchard and Trooper Palmer continue their recovery at their Stevensville homes.

Julie's autopsy records have been sent to the Missoula county attorney for their investigation.