EVARO, Mont. — Wounded Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer's wife Lindsey said in a statement that her husband's condition remains "extremely critical" after he was shot three times in the head, face and neck.
Lindsey Palmer said her husband remains in a medically induced coma at a Utah hospital and has not regained consciousness since the shooting on Friday.
"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," Lindsey Palmer wrote in the statement.
"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," she continued.
Highway Patrol Chief Tom Butler also addressed false rumors circulating about Palmer's conditions.
"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," Butler wrote.
Butler reminded the public to refrain from circulating information until it has been verified by Montana Highway Patrol or the Department of Justice.
"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," Butler wrote. "Please continue to keep Trooper Palmer and the Missoula shooting victims in your thoughts and prayers.”
Trooper Wade Palmer shot near Evaro on Friday
Palmer was shot near Evaro while searching for the suspect in a Missoula shooting before midnight on Friday, according to highway patrol. Another trooper then found Trooper Wade Palmer still seat-belted in his patrol car after he was shot. The suspect had fled the scene.
Palmer was in critical condition at St. Patrick Hospital, according to the highway patrol. On Friday afternoon, he was airlifted to Salt Lake City.
Palmer worked for Montana Highway Patrol since 2012 and is stationed in Missoula. In 2015, he was awarded the Medal of Valor for his life-saving efforts at the scene of a multi-vehicle crash involving a mom and her young children in December 2014.
Palmer has a wife and two young children, according to the highway patrol.
The suspect in the shooting, identified as Johnathan Bertsch, was taken into custody by the Missoula County Sheriff's Office's Special Response Team at about 6:15 a.m. on Friday, according to a Facebook post. The sheriff's office is not looking to find any other suspects.
According to highway patrol, residents in the Evaro area were originally told that the suspect was considered armed and dangerous and that they should not approach him. Residents were also told to lock their doors and report suspicious activity to 911.
"Please keep the Montana Highway Patrol Trooper who sustained injures this morning in your thoughts and prayers," the sheriff's office posted on Facebook.
Hundreds of law enforcement personnel throughout the state of Montana filled the courtroom during Bertsch's initial hearing on Monday.
Bertsch's bail was set at $2 million on Monday.
Those interested in helping Palmer and two other victims in last week's shooting can visit GoFundMe pages and Facebook fundraisers, according to law enforcement.
A GoFundMe page is up and running in support of Palmer.
Those who wish to help the family of Shelley Hayes, who was killed in one of the shootings, can do so via GoFundMe.
A Facebook fundraiser has also been set up in support of Casey Blanchard, who was wounded in the shooting.