HELENA — Dennis DeLaittre is impressed with the strength of officer Mason Moore's widow. Her ability to speak eloquently at her husband's funeral resonated with him.
“I don’t know where the power comes from,” he said.
Broadwater County sheriff's deputy Mason Moore was killed in the line of duty last week. And as he waited for the fallen deputy's procession to arrive in his hometown of Three Forks Tuesday, Dennis DeLaittre recalled speaking at the memorial service for his son, Montana Highway Patrol trooper David DeLaittre.
“I still don’t know how I did it,” he said as he stood alongside dozens of other community members waiting for the procession.
Mason Moore died on May 16 just down the road from a memorial park Dennis DeLaittre helped found to honor his son, who was killed in the line of duty in December 2010. The spot is just a few miles from the Moore family’s home in Three Forks and not too far from the David DeLaittre’s childhood residence.
“It’s been a tough six-and-a-half years. Then to lose someone like this so close to where David was killed,” he said, "it was heartbreaking.”
Mason Moore, 42, and David DeLaittre, 23, were both shot and killed on the job. Mason Moore worked for the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office for the last three years.
Dennis DeLaittre, who knew Mason Moore, said he found the deputy to be a polite man with a great family.
“I just can’t say enough about the guy. I guess there’s some truth to good guys die young,” he said.
Impressed by the turnout for the funeral and other remembrances Tuesday, he said he wasn’t surprised by the outpouring of support.
“This community is incredibly amazing,” said Dennis DeLaittre, adding that people throughout the state reached out to him after he lost his son. “They were great for my family and myself.”
His son was a fifth-generation law enforcement officer. The man who killed him died by suicide shortly after the shooting.
One of the men suspected in the death of Mason Moore, Marshall Barrus, died after a shootout with officers following a chase. His father, Lloyd Barrus, has been charged with 16 counts of attempted deliberate homicide and accountability to attempted deliberate homicide.
For Dennis DeLaittre, the similarities in the deaths are “mind boggling.” They also show the dangers of working as a law enforcement officer. He urged community members to do niceties such as waving at officers as a show of support. Something seemingly small such as pulling over when they see lights or hear sirens can do a lot, he said.
“Little things could make it safer and easier for officers,” Dennis DeLaittre added.