The sheriff of Broadwater County is thanking people who have reached out to the law enforcement community following this week's death of deputy Mason Moore.
Tuesday's fatal shooting of Moore during a traffic stop leaves a family without a husband and father, the sheriff's department without a respected colleague and has left one sheriff with a broken heart.
“We’re trying to keep the team together. You know, we still have a mission. We still have a goal and an objective to meet. And trying to get everybody together and stay focused and get them to understand that Mason’s life was not for nothing," Sheriff Wynn M. Meehan said. "He was doing what we all do every single day for our reasons.”
"Trying to make sure we meet the needs and the wishes of Jodi and the kids and Mason’s family out of South Carolina," Sheriff Wynn added. "For our young staff it puts it in perspective.”
“I always said, it wasn’t if, it was when. And that when happened. It’s something that I prayed everyday would never happened on my watch. We never lost one in the history of this office…and…we did unfortunately on May 16th," Sheriff Wynn continued.
“Like I told his wife and his kids yesterday, Mason might not be with us anymore, but he will always be with us," the sheriff told MTN News. "I think people forget that Montana is a big state, but it’s a small family.”
“[I] Ask the state and all of the communities involved to continue to support and to show respect for Mason and his wife Jodi and the kids. The lost their husband, their father and their son and they need to know the state of Montana appreciates his sacrifice," Sheriff Wynn concluded.
He also expressed his sadness and gratitude on a social media post.
"First off, I want to express my deepest heartfelt condolences to Mason Moore's family, his wife Jodi, his children, his mother, brother, extended family for the loss of your husband, father, brother and son. I have no words to take away the pain you all feel, but we at the Sheriffs' Office are here day or night, rain or snow for anything you need," Meehan wrote.
Meehan went on to recognize the citizens of Montana for reaching out during a tragic moment for law enforcement.
"To all the folks that in the great state of Montana that have called me, texted me or messaged me, please know it has not gone unnoticed, I have tried to reply the best I can and as times allows, I will respond to you," Meehan stated. "Please understand this has been my greatest fear as the Sheriff and I am trying to deal with it in the best way I can.
To all the Public Safety community, police, fire and medical, the support you all have shown to Mason, myself and all of my team members has been overwhelming and I again have no words that can describe how I feel. The jurisdictional boundaries cease to exist when incidents like this happen and I truly whole heartedly appreciate everyone's assistance."
Throughout the week, multiple law enforcement agencies have stepped in to assist the Broadwater County Sheriff's Office.
"There are a few agencies I need to acknowledge for the first hand everyday operational support. Sheriff Leo Dutton and his fabulous staff of the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office has been here on the ground helping in every capacity. Sheriff Brian Gootkin and all of his staff of the Gallatin County Sheriffs' Office has been side by side with me as well. Sheriff Bob Edward and Lt. Bob Rosipal of the Cascade County Sheriff's Office, have been here daily to assist us through this tragedy and taking care of any coroner calls we have. Sheriff Scott Hamilton and his staff of the Park County Sheriffs's Office, Chief Steve Crawford and all his staff of the Bozeman City Police Department, the Montana Sheriffs' and Peace Officers Association, the Montana Highway Patrol, the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations, Attorney General Tim Fox, Governor Steve Bullock and many many more agencies. I cant say enough about all of you to express how I feel about your love, your prayers, assistance, guidance and patience."
Moore's body was taken to Billings for an autopsy on Tuesday where hundreds of residents, including law enforcement and civilians, lined up on Billings streets to honor Moore's service.
"I would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to two men, miles away that organized their agencies and their community to lead us and meet us in Billings, Montana. Sheriff Mike Linders and Chief Rich St. John, you guys for a lack of better words are simply AWESOME. You hearts poured out to us and you welcomed my staff and I into your home town and honored my deputy, my friend and my pal Mason Moore," Meehan posted.
But the chief was far from forgiving to the men who killed Moore in the early morning hours during a traffic stop near Three Forks.
"I want to say I have many angry emotions regarding the individuals that took the life of Mason, however this is not the platform for those. I will say Mason was the most loyal person I think I have ever met. He was a man of integrity, honor, loyalty, pride and full of self sacrifice to protect others that couldn't protect themselves. Mason loved his beautiful wife Jodi, their two young and growing sons and his beautiful daughter. He was a man of the Lord and his faith led him to doing the things he loved most. Mason never ran from danger, but confronted it head on. He is a Hero, and will always be my Hero. I thank you for your sacrifice Mason, and I have no way to ever repay you, but I promise to be here for your family as long as I live."
Meehan concluded his social media post with a plea to recognize the sacrifice of Deputy Mason Moore.
"I ask my friends, my colleagues, my community and this wonderful State of Montana, to observe a moment of silence today in memory of Mason and to send your thoughts and prayers to Jodi and the kids.
Thank you all again.
Rest in Peace Mason, I will take it from here.
Sheriff Wynn M. Meehan"
Moore's funeral will be Tuesday, May 23, at 11:00 a.m. at the Bridge Church in Belgrade.
Due to space limitations, the service at the Bridge Church is for immediate family and law enforcement officers. Live streaming of the service will take place at Three Forks High School gymnasium starting at 11:00 a.m.
A reception will be held in the gymnasium from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. following the service.
For more information check with the Broadwater County Sheriff's Office Facebook page and the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association Facebook page.
The following are locations where donations can be made to help the Moore family:
Lloyd Montier Barrus, 61, has been charged in Missoula County with two counts of accountability for attempted deliberate homicide and 14 counts of attempted deliberate homicide in connection with the case.
Authorities say in charging documents that Moore was killed Tuesday while attempting to stop an SUV driven by the defendant and occupied by his son, Marshall Barrus. A shot was fired from the defendant’s SUV at Moore, which led to his death.