Social media footprints suggest a suspect accused of fatally shooting a Montana sheriff’s deputy during a nighttime traffic stop was heavily immersed in antigovernment, anti-police and pro-gun militia views.
While Lloyd Barrus made Facebook postings suggesting government excesses at Ruby Ridge and Waco and showing armed Oath Keepers with a private helicopter, his son Marshall Barrus has a criminal record.
The elder Barrus, who’s 61, is scheduled to appear in court today in Missoula, Montana, charged with deliberate homicide in the overnight Tuesday roadside shooting death of Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Mason Moore, 42, near Three Forks.
His son, Marshall Barrus, 39, is under police guard in a Missoula hospital, in an undisclosed condition, after being shot in the head during a gunfight with police at the conclusion of a 140-mile, tires-flattened chase westbound on Interstate 90.
During the chase, which reached speeds up to 100 mph, the two suspects in the fleeing vehicle fired at pursuing officers, authorities say.
It began, according to various media reports, when Deputy Moore — only three years on the job and the father of three — attempted to stop an older Chevrolet Suburban near Three Forks, west of Bozeman.
When dispatchers lost radio contact with the Broadwater County deputy, another officer sped to the scene and found Moore fatally shot on the side of the freeway, the Missoulian reported. The deputy quickly reviewed the slain officer’s dash cam video and sent out a statewide alert for the suspects’ white 1998 SUV.
Within a half hour, Butte-Silver Bow County deputies spotted the suspects’ vehicle heading west-bound on the Interstate, near the Continental Divide, but it sped off, with officers in pursuit.
During the chase, its passenger, identified as Marshall Barrus, fired a semi-automatic .308 caliber rifle through the vehicle’s missing rear window, Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester told reporters.
Both suspects in the SUV were firing at deputies near the end of the chase which ended near Rock Creek, east of Missoula, a considerable distance after the vehicle’s tires were flattened by a spike strip placed across the highway.
When the vehicle finally stopped, Marshall Barrus got out and continued firing, disabling two sheriff’s vehicles, but not hitting any officers.
Marshall Burrus was shot in the head and his father surrendered at the scene.
“There's probably a special place in hell for those individuals and that's where they belong,” the sheriff told the Missoula newspaper.
Investigators are still trying to fully piece together the sequence of events, including searching for precise circumstances involving the fatal shooting of the deputy.
Their background investigation also will include an examination of cell phone and social media records, and an attempt to learn what the suspects were doing in Montana.
Marshall Barrus has lived near Bozeman, in Broadwater County, where he faces burglary charges for allegedly breaking into a couple’s home, assaulting a woman and threatening to kill a man, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.
In recent months, Lloyd Barrus, who has lived in Bakersfield, California, has posted assorted pro-Trump material and links to various antigovernment and conspiracy theory sites, including InfoWars hosted by arch-conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
A favorite of Donald Trump’s, Jones has claimed the U.S. government was behind everything from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and a host of other unverifiable or outright false conspiracy theories.
Last October, Lloyd Barrus, who also has lived in Idaho and Alaska, posted a photo of a group of heavily armed Oath Keepers, gathered around what appears to be a privately owned Huey helicopter, like those used in Vietnam.
The Oath Keepers, headed by Stewart Rhodes, is an armed Patriot group whose members claim to be ex-military and police officers whose primary purpose is to defend the Constitution. It’s not clear, at this point, if Barrus is a member of Oath Keepers, but he has posted several social media pictures suggesting a possible past connection with the military.
Lloyd Barrus’ Facebook page also showed photos of former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos saying the “Terrible, Pointless Awful War on Drugs – Replacing the Black Dad with the State.”
In April, close to the birthday of Adolf Hitler, Barrus posted a picture of Nazi Germany with the caption: “No Rioting going on in this picture.”
In another post from last October, Barrus said, “The FBI & ATF killed more children at Waco then were killed at Sandy Hook. Where was the outrage then?”