Missoula County Coverage

Jun 14, 2011 11:51 AM by KPAX Media Center

Manhunt for militia fugitive shifts to Snowbowl area

MISSOULA- Law enforcement officials scrambled to the Snowbowl area outside of Missoula Tuesday morning after a worker at the resort reported a possible sighting of fugitive David Burgert.

The worker told authorities at around 8:45 a.m. that he saw a man who appeared to match Burgert's description on the mountain while the worker was clearing snow on a hillside at the resort.

Numerous personnel responded to the scene to check out the report that Burgert, who shot at deputies outside of Lolo on Sunday and then led them on a chase into the woods off of Graves Creek Road, may be in the area.

Several agencies, including the FBI, are aiding in the manhunt which entered day three on Tuesday. The search has been primarily focused in the east of Lolo Pass and in the Petty Creek area where roadblocks are set up and a massive ground and air search has been underway.

Missoula County Sheriff Carl Isben had said it appeared Burgert was trying to ambush responding officers as they performed a welfare check on Sunday at Fort Fizzle along U.S. Highway 12 outside of Lolo.

Burgert, a member of the Flathead militia known as Project 7, is well known to law enforcement officials in western and northwestern Montana. He was involved in a 2002 plot to kill government officials in Flathead County.

While authorities have continued to focus on the Petty Creek area, Flathead County authorities were notified on Monday that Burgert may have been heading to their area.

An "officer caution" was issued to all Flathead law enforcement and Flathead County officials have been searching for a 1987 Jeep agoneer with the license plate number 426514 A. The car is registered in red, but could have been painted tan.

Burgert is a white male with brown hair and brown eyes who stands 6'2" tall and weighs 230 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt and a fanny pack and is believed to be armed with a handgun and possibly a rifle.

He is considered to be armed and extremely dangerous. Anyone who spots Burgert should contact 911 immediately.

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