MISSOULA — One of the men allegedly involved in the killing of a Broadwater County deputy sheriff Tuesday morning triggered a massive standoff involving more than 100 officers in California 17 years ago, according to news reports at the time and confirmed Wednesday by law enforcement.
Lloyd Barrus, 61, was ordered held on $2 million bail Wednesday in his initial appearance in Missoula County Justice Court on 14 counts of attempted deliberate homicide and two of accountability for attempted deliberate homicide.
His son Marshall Barrus, 38, who was shot by law enforcement after firing at officers at the end of a high-speed chase Tuesday, died in the hospital Wednesday, according to the Missoula County Sheriff's Office.
In March 2000, Lloyd Barrus, son Jeffrey Barrus and a woman named Cheryl Maarteuse were arrested after an armed standoff in Death Valley that lasted more than 18 hours, according to multiple news reports of the incident.
Although the spelling of Barrus’ last name differed in the stories about the 2000 incident, authorities in Inyo County, California, confirmed Wednesday that the same 61-year-old Lloyd Barrus who was arrested east of Missoula on Tuesday was involved in that standoff.
In the 2000 incident, the three fled from a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper who attempted to stop them about 60 miles north of Las Vegas. They shot at officers during the 70-mile chase. After their vehicle broke down, the three ran, eventually hiding in a gully and starting the standoff, according to stories from the Washington Post and CBS.
During the standoff, the three reportedly damaged a California Highway Patrol helicopter to the point it was forced to land, but did not injure any officers before they were arrested.
Inyo County, California, District Attorney Tom Hardy, who prosecuted the criminal case resulting from the standoff, said Lloyd Barrus eventually pleaded guilty to a felony for assault on a peace officer. He was sentenced in July 2002 to 15 years in prison with credit for time already served.
Jeffrey Barrus, who was believed to have been the primary shooter, also pleaded guilty to a similar felony and received a 25-year prison sentence that he is still serving, said Hardy. Maarteuse was eventually sentenced to a year in jail for her minor role in the standoff.
Hardy offered his condolences to Montana law enforcement. “I just can’t imagine how horrible that must have been,” he said.
On Wednesday, Deputy Missoula County Attorney Brian Lowney said Barrus mentioned the California standoff in an interview with officers. "He portrayed that in such a way as if he was bragging about it."
Broadwater County Deputy Sheriff Mason Moore, 42, was found shot to death early Tuesday morning. He had stopped responding to dispatchers after calling in a chase near Three Forks around 2:30 a.m. An officer sent to assist him found his body.
The vehicle Moore was pursuing was spotted by Butte-Silver Bow County sheriff’s deputies near Anaconda around 3:30 a.m., starting a chase that led all the way to the Rock Creek area near mile marker 129 on Interstate 90. Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester said both men in the SUV fired at officers during the chase.
Marshall Barrus was shot in the head after he got out of the passenger seat of the SUV and began firing at officers, according to multiple agencies. He was taken to a hospital, where he died Wednesday.
According to a court affidavit, Lloyd Barrus also left the SUV when it stopped at the end of the chase, and fired a 9 mm handgun at officers. He said in interviews after his arrest that he was attempting to force a “suicide by cop.”
Lloyd Barrus’ posts on his Facebook page include images and links to stories on conspiracy theory websites including Infowars — the website run by Alex Jones, who has claimed the government conducted the Oklahoma City bombing and that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged.
Last fall, Barrus made a post that read “The FBI & ATF killed more children at Waco then were killed at Sandy Hook. Where was the outrage then?”
He has also posted several photos of the book “The Vigilantes of Montana,” of which he appears to own multiple editions, as well as photos seemingly linking the CIA to alien spacecraft.
Earlier in May, he posted images of pages from the Book of Daniel in the Bible where the word “sheriffs” had been highlighted.
How to give
The Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office said a donation fund has been set up at Opportunity Bank in Townsend.
An online GoFundMe page has also been set up to support Moore’s family.
But law enforcement is warning people about a phone scam related to his death.
Police in Deer Lodge said they have received a complaint about residents getting calls from a person claiming to be raising money for Moore on behalf of the Montana Law Enforcement Academy and asking for credit card information.
Those calls are a scam. The MLEA is not soliciting donations, and while the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association is taking donations for Moore’s family, they are not soliciting them by phone.
"Do not provide your credit card information to this individual,'' Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester said.