The wife of Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer said in a statement Wednesday that her husband is in a medically induced coma and his condition remains stable but "extremely critical."
Palmer was shot early Friday morning near Evaro in one of two related shootings that also killed one man and injured a mother and son. Palmer is being treated at University Hospital in Salt Lake City.
"Trooper Palmer was shot three times in the head, face and neck,'' Lindsey Palmer said in a statement Wednesday updating her husband's condition. "He has not regained consciousness since the shooting on Friday.
"Due to the nature and extent of his injuries, it may be some time before we know more about his prognosis. The family asks for the public’s patience and for their understanding that updates will not necessarily be available on a daily basis. We will keep everyone updated as appropriate via the Highway Patrol and Department of Justice. We remain cautiously optimistic that Wade will continue to see steady improvements. We recognize, however, that the overall understanding of these improvements and what they mean in the long run is still evolving and unknown at this time. We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support and prayers for Wade and for us.”
The statement also included a plea from MHP Chief Tom Butler:
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“There have been some false rumors circulating about Trooper Palmer’s condition. While we understand that the chatter can arise from a place of genuine concern and goodwill, please understand that when Wade’s friends and relatives see misinformation posted about his condition, it is very upsetting, especially when they have to take the time and energy to dispel the rumors. With that in mind, please do not circulate or repeat a rumor or information about Trooper Palmer unless it has been verified by the Montana Highway Patrol or Department of Justice.”
Butler added, “The Highway Patrol has been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement seen in recent days. It is clear the silent majority supports their law enforcement officers. Please continue to keep Trooper Palmer and the Missoula shooting victims in your thoughts and prayers.”
About an hour before Palmer was shot, a shooting in Missoula late Thursday night killed Shelley Hays and injured Casey Blanchard and his mother, Julie. Casey Blanchard also is being treated at the Salt Lake City Hospital.
Johnathan Bertsch, 28, has been charged in the killing of Hays and the shooting of Casey and Julie Blanchard, and Palmer. A Missoula County Justice of the Peace on Monday set his bail at $2 million.