News & Features

Bail Set at $2M for Suspect in Killing of Montana Deputy

Lloyd Barrus was charged in Missoula County Wednesday with 14 counts

MISSOULA — A man suspected in the shooting death of a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop and of firing at officers in a pursuit across southwestern Montana told investigators he hoped to force officers to shoot him because he wanted to go out “at the end of a gun,” court records said.

The other suspect died Wednesday, Missoula County authorities said.

Bail was set at $2 million for Lloyd Barrus, 61, who was charged Wednesday with 14 counts of attempted deliberate homicide and two counts of accountability to attempted deliberate homicide for shots fired at officers after Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Mason Moore was found shot to death early Tuesday near Three Forks.

Barrus, whose last known address was Bakersfield, California, did not enter a plea during his initial appearance in Missoula County Justice Court.

It wasn’t the first time Barrus was involved in a police chase, Missoula County prosecutors said in asking for the $2 million bail.

The Montana chase ended at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday east of Missoula with Barrus’ sport utility vehicle riding on its rims.

Barrus and his son, Marshall, got out of the SUV and fired at officers, who returned fire. Marshall Barrus, 38, was shot in the head and “mortally wounded,” court documents said. He died at a Missoula hospital, Sheriff T.J. McDermott confirmed after Lloyd Barrus’ court appearance.

Officers shot a 9 mm gun out of Lloyd Barrus’ hand before arresting him, charging documents said.

Charges have not yet been filed in Moore’s death. Moore, 42, had been with the sheriff’s department for three years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

The Missoula County charges say the father and son fired shots at officers from Butte-Silver Bow and Anaconda police departments, the Montana Highway Patrol, and the Missoula, Granite and Powell county sheriff’s offices during the pursuit, which covered nearly 100 miles (161 kilometers) of Interstate 90, from Butte where officers spotted the Barrus vehicle after the shooting and Rock Creek, where the chase ended.

In Granite County, law enforcement officers saw Marshall Barrus move into the back of the SUV and begin firing a long gun through the vehicle’s rear window. Two vehicles from the Butte-Silver Bow Police Department were hit and disabled, court records said. At least two other law enforcement vehicles were disabled during the pursuit.

Montana Highway Patrol Capt. Jim Kitchen told KGVO-AM that it was lucky that no law enforcement officers were hit during the shootings.

“The vehicles’ windshields were hit. These guys were going at it,” he said. “They shot the radiators out and were shooting through the windshields.”

Lloyd Barrus was involved in a shootout with law enforcement officers in Nevada and California in March 2000, the Missoulian reported.

Barrus, his son Jeffrey Barrus and another woman were arrested in California after fleeing from a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper trying to stop them and shooting at officers during a 70-mile (113 kilometer) chase. Their vehicle broke down in the Furnace Creek area and the hid in a gully and started an 18-hour standoff in Death Valley.

They reportedly shot and damaged a California Highway Patrol helicopter to the point it was forced to land. No one was injured.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Brian Lowney said Barrus mentioned the California standoff while he was being questioned.

“He portrayed that in such a way as if he was bragging about it,” Lowney said.