Show Brings Tips on Missing Fugitive

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA — The season premiere of “America’s Most Wanted” brought in more than a dozen tips on Montana fugitive David Burgert, including six that officers in Missoula County consider “very interesting.”

Saturday’s two-hour episode highlighted the most dangerous fugitives in each of the 50 states, beginning with Burgert, a former militia leader who has been missing since a shootout with deputies on June 12 in the Lolo area, the Missoulian reported.

Sheriff’s detective Jason Johnson was at the TV show’s Bethesda, Md., headquarters as the show aired. He said six of the 16 calls offering tips about Burgert offered the opportunity to review surveillance videos to confirm Burgert’s identity and location.

“We definitely got some exciting stuff that was very helpful to the investigation and our detective units will get hard at it first thing Monday morning,” Johnson said. “If Burgert is out there, and he is watching, we want him to know that people did call in and that several of the callers said they were 80 percent to 100 percent certain they saw him.”

The show included a re-enactment of the shootout with law officers. It also featured Burgert’s background as the leader of a militia group in the Kalispell area that was accused of plotting to kill law state and local enforcement officers and judges in Flathead County.

Burgert, 47, was released from federal prison in March 2010 after serving time on weapons charges related to an all-night standoff with law enforcement officers west of Kalispell. At the time of his arrest, he was manning a mounted machine gun in a wooded hideout.

He was the leader of a militia group called Project 7 that was suspected of plotting to assassinate judges and law enforcement officers in Flathead County a decade ago.

Saturday’s episode included an interview with detective TJ McDermott, who said Burgert is known to frequent medical clinics for heart and stomach problems and has ties to Washington, Ohio, Florida, Georgia and Canada.

McDermott said Burgert has been known to seek out homosexual companionship and may be dressed as a woman.

If Burgert isn’t caught in the next few weeks, the program will re-air and include some of the new information officers received Saturday night, Johnson said.

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