Bond set at $2 million for Missoula shooting suspect

Posted at 4:06 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 18:06:31-04
Jonathan Bertsch appeared via video in Missoula County Justice Court on Monday afternoon. (Kent Luetzen/MTN News)

MISSOULA – The suspect in a series of shootings Friday that killed one man and injured three more people, including a Montana Highway Patrol trooper, made his initial appearance in Missoula County Justice Court Monday afternoon.

Law enforcement vehicles lined the street near Missoula County Justice Court on Monday. (Courtesy: Missoula County)

Johnathan Bertsch faces one count of deliberate homicide for the death of Shelley Hayes, as well as three counts of attempted deliberate homicide in connection with the shootings.

Bertsch’s bond was set at $2 million.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer continues to recover in a Utah hospital after being shot and critically wounded in Evaro Friday morning.

There was a substantial law enforcement presence in the Missoula courtroom just before Bertsch was set to appear.

(March 15, 2019) One of the victims injured in a series of shootings Thursday night and Friday morning has died, according to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

Johnathan Bertsch faces one count of deliberate homicide and three more counts of attempted deliberate homicide, all felonies, in the shootings.

The Missoula Police Department received the initial call about reports of gunfire with three people shot near the Stone Creek Lodge at Expressway in Missoula shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday.

According to MCSO, a male victim, identified as Shelley Hayes died from his injuries. Julie and Casey Blanchard were also injured in the attack.

Bertsch, the suspect, fled the scene and led multiple agencies on a seven-hour manhunt along U.S. Highway 93 North.

Missoula units set up a perimeter and warned area residents to lock their doors as a suspect was at large.

Within moments, a second shooting was reported near the Evaro Bar and Casino where Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer located a vehicle matching the description.

Trooper Alex Hiday was the next officer on scene. Hiday found Palmer shot and still seat-belted in his patrol car. The suspect had fled the scene, according to the MHP.

Hiday and a Missoula Police Department officer transported Palmer to an ambulance at the intersection of Highway 93 and Interstate 90. He was taken to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, but has since been airlifted to Salt Lake City.

After an extensive manhunt, at approximately 6:15 a.m. the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office took Bertsch into custody without incident.

The Montana Department of Justice has taken over the investigation involving Trooper Palmer while the Missoula Police Department is investigating the shootings near Expressway.