BUTTE — Dramatic testimony on the fourth day of Lloyd Barrus’ deliberate homicide trial as officers testify about a pursuit that involved high speeds and gunfire.
Butte Police Officer Tim Berger was in hot pursuit of a vehicle whose occupants were suspects in the murder of a Broadwater County Sheriff’s deputy in May 2017.
The officer started taking gunfire from the fleeing vehicle as they were traveling at more than 100 mph down Interstate 90. A bullet penetrated the hood and disabled the patrol car. The gunfire from the feeling vehicle also disabled a patrol car driven by Berger’s fellow officer Rich O’Brien.
He testified that he didn’t realize how close to death he’d come until afterward.
“In the moment, I really didn’t feel much of anything, it was more caught up in the chase and your adrenaline is going; afterwards, when I got a chance to talk to Richie, told him to go call his wife because … sorry … because I told him how she doesn’t want to find out on Facebook,” said Berger as he struggled with emotion.
Butte officers, along with other officers, would eventually have a shootout with Lloyd Barrus and his son Marshall on the interstate in Missoula County. Lloyd Barrus would be taken into custody and Marshall would later die from gunshot wounds.
Lloyd Barrus is on trial facing felony charges of deliberate homicide by accountability in the May 16, 2017 shooting death of Broadwater Deputy Mason Moore. He also faces two counts of attempted deliberate homicide in connection with his alleged role in shooting at pursuing officers.
Berger believes the driver assisted the gunman in trying to kill him.
“The driver was not making any maneuvers to throw off the person shooting, he wasn’t jerking the wheel, he wasn’t swerving—he was going just nice and easy, helping the shooter get better sight, picture on what he’s shooting at,” said Berger.
More law enforcement are expected to be called by the prosecution to take the stand Wednesday morning beginning at 9 a.m.