By Dillon Kato, Missoulian
Two people have been arrested east of Missoula after a Broadwater County sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed during a traffic stop, leading to a high-speed chase that temporarily shut down westbound Interstate 90.
The Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office has identified the deputy killed as Mason Moore, who had worked at the department for three years. He was married and had three children.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said the incident started this morning when the Broadwater deputy got into a chase with a white SUV near Three Forks shortly before 3 a.m.
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Gootkin said dispatchers lost contact with the Broadwater deputy. A Gallatin deputy sent to the scene found the officer dead. The suspected shooter has been identified as 38-year-old Marshall Barrus.
Gootkin said the Gallatin deputy sent to the scene reviewed the dash camera video in the slain officer’s car and identified the SUV, which has California license plates.
Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester said that in response to an alert, Butte-Silver Bow officers spotted the vehicle, a 1998 Chevrolet Suburban, at 3:27 a.m., westbound on I-90 near the Continental Drive interchange, and gave chase.
The pursuit reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Butte-Silver Bow officers continued to pursue the vehicle westbound on I-90 through Deer Lodge County and Powell County and into Granite County.
Despite its tires being punctured by a spike strip deployed by the Montana Highway Patrol at mile marker 162 in Powell County, the vehicle continued west until it reached the Rock Creek area, where the passenger began firing at officers.
Three Butte-Silver Bow sheriff’s vehicles were hit by gunfire, two of them seriously enough to be disabled.
Lester added, “I can confirm that two Butte-Silver Bow police officers fired their weapons during this incident. I will let the other involved agencies provide additional details.”
“The investigation into the entire incident is being conducted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.
“The men and women of the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department extend our sincerest condolences to Sheriff Meehan, the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Department, and the family of the fallen deputy.”
The passenger was shot and taken to the hospital, and the driver was arrested. The section of the westbound lanes of I-90 was closed while officers collected evidence, but has since been reopened.
The driver, Lloyd Barrus, 61, and the passenger are father and son, said Missoula County sheriff’s spokeswoman Brenda Bassett. Lloyd Barrus was booked into the Missoula County jail shortly after 7 a.m. on suspicion of deliberate homicide.
Law enforcement agencies from across the state were involved in the chase.
Moore died less than two miles away from where a state Highway Patrol trooper was shot and killed in 2010.
Trooper David DeLaittre was shot near Three Forks in December 2010.
Moore is the 129th Montana law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty since 1878, just before Montana became a state.