MISSOULA — Broadwater County Deputy Sheriff Mason Moore, a married father of three, survived the first gunshot wound he suffered while driving after a Belgrade man and his father at 100 miles per hour on a dark highway at 2:30 a.m. last Tuesday.
But he didn't survive the hail of two dozen bullets when the two men allegedly turned their car around, drove right up to where Moore's car had pulled to a stop, and fired again.
In the hours before they allegedly killed Moore, Marshall Barrus and his father Lloyd Barrus are accused of attempting to violently take Marshall’s children on what they termed a “suicide mission.”
That’s according to Broadwater County Attorney Cory Swanson, who filed a felony charge of accountability for deliberate homicide against Lloyd Barrus on Friday. Lloyd Barrus, 61, is being held on $2 million bond at the Missoula County Detention Center. Prosecutors in Missoula County also filed additional charges against him on Friday, bringing his total number of felony attempted deliberate homicide charges to 16.
Lloyd Barrus was arrested on Tuesday after he and his son allegedly murdered Deputy Moore and then led law enforcement on a high-speed chase across several counties before engaging officers in a shootout east of Missoula on Interstate 90. Marshall Barrus was mortally wounded by law enforcement during the shootout, but Lloyd Barrus was arrested after officers shot a Glock 9mm handgun out of his hand.
In chilling detail in new charging documents filed Friday, Swanson laid out details of Moore’s death at about 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Swanson said that after he got an emergency call at 3:40 a.m. notifying him that Moore was dead from apparent gunshot wounds, he went to the scene and reviewed a copy of Moore’s patrol car video.
The video showed Moore was traveling south on Highway 287 when he was passed by what appeared to be a white Chevy Suburban. Moore followed for a minute, then tried to pull the vehicle over. The vehicle did not stop, so Moore advised dispatch that he was in pursuit, reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour.
About six minutes into the chase, Moore appeared to be hit by gunfire while driving. The camera was knocked from its mount, and the patrol car appeared to come to a stop on the side of the road. From that point forward, the audio and video quality fluctuated intermittently, according to Swanson.
“I did not observe any motion or sound from Deputy Moore on the video for approximately three minutes after the initial gunfire,” Swanson wrote in charging documents. “At that point, Deputy Moore seemed to regain consciousness and could be heard moaning faintly and opening his car door.
"About a minute after that, Deputy Moore and his patrol vehicle appeared to be struck by more than 15 gunshots fired in rapid succession. I did not see or hear any activity in the video after that until backup officers arrived approximately eight minutes later.”
A Montana Highway Patrol trooper who was first on the scene later told Swanson that when he got to Moore’s car, the driver’s side door was open and Deputy Moore was dead of an apparent gunshot wound. A post-mortem examination later determined that Moore sustained two gunshot wounds to the head and another to the shoulder.
Swanson examined the scene, and found 29 spent .308-caliber rifle cartridges. He found about 24 bullet holes in the patrol car’s windshield, front end and passenger door.
“From tire marks on the pavement, it appeared as though a vehicle was traveling southbound beyond Deputy Moore’s vehicle, then made a U-turn and went back toward the patrol car,” Swanson wrote. “I also observed tracks in the dirt alongside Deputy Moore’s passenger door, adjacent to the majority of the fired cartridge cases. Those tracks then appeared to make another U-turn southbound.”
Moore's assailants had fled, but law enforcement officers tracked them down near Butte. The duo then allegedly led officers on a high-speed chase across several counties in an effort to get away.
Marshall Barrus allegedly moved to the back of the SUV at mile marker 135 on Interstate 90 and began firing rounds with a long gun through the rear window at pursuing law enforcement vehicles.
Two Butte police vehicles were hit by Barrus' rounds, disabling those vehicles. Shooting those two cars led to the additional charges for Lloyd Barrus on Friday. The pursuit continued to mile marker 128 in Missoula County, at which point Barrus' vehicle was too disabled by spike strips to continue.
Lloyd Barrus left the driver's side while his son got out of the the passenger's side, according to court documents. They are accused of firing repeatedly on surrounding law enforcement vehicles, hitting four.
Lloyd Barrus allegedly was firing a Glock 9mm handgun while Marshall Barrus was firing a rifle or a shotgun. Law enforcement officers returned fire and mortally wounded Marshall Barrus. Officers also shot the handgun from Lloyd Barrus' hand, at which point he was arrested. Prosecutors say 14 law enforcement officers were under fire during the shootout in Missoula County.
Interviewing the children
Swanson, the Broadwater County attorney, said Gallatin County Sheriff’s Detectives interviewed Marshall Barrus’ children shortly afterward. A detective said the children told him that Lloyd Barrus came to the family’s home in Belgrade about two weeks ago from California.
The entire family then went camping near Canyon Ferry Reservoir. The children told detectives that both Marshall and Lloyd had strong anti-law enforcement views and openly discussed a “suicide mission” involving a shootout with police.
On the night of Monday, May 15, the children said Marshall woke them at about 11 p.m. when he fired a gun in the campground. He then got into an argument with the children’s mother before both Marshall and Lloyd left the campground.
The men returned at 2 a.m. and began firing guns around the campground while looking for the children. Marshall allegedly located the children with their mother in the car, then broke out the rear window when they refused to open the doors. Marshall allegedly struck one of the children in the face after trying unsuccessfully to get the kids to accompany him and his father on their “suicide mission.”
The children told detectives that the men left the campground with a semi-automatic rifle, a 9mm pistol, a shotgun and a backpack full of ammunition and magazines.
Barrus has also been charged with two counts of accountability to attempted deliberate homicide, both felonies. All of the charges against him are punishable by life in prison, or not less than 10 or more than 100 years in Montana State Prison.