Over one hundred uniformed law enforcement personnel from agencies across western Montana attended the initial court appearance of 29 year-old Jonathan Bertsch, the man who allegedly shot and killed one man, wounded a mother and her son, and then shot and critically wounded Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer last week.
There were so many police officers, sheriff’s deputies and Highway Patrol troopers that the court appearance had to be moved out of Justice Court to Judge John Larson’s Courtroom Number Three on the third floor of the Missoula County Courthouse.
Judge Alex Beal set Bertsch's bail at $2 million and ordered him to appear again in Justice Court on March 27, KVGO reports.
Following the court hearing, Montana Highway Patrol Captain Chad Dever responded to the display of solidarity shown by the law enforcement community behind the wounded trooper.
“It’s just amazing the brotherhood that we see at our times of need like this and words aren’t enough to say how much it means to us on the Highway Patrol,” said Dever as one by one he shook hands with each law enforcement member as they exited the courtroom. “To be honest, we’re devastated right now,” he continued. “We’re just happy that Wade is a fighter and he’s fighting right now. We’re just praying that he gets better, and that’s about all we can do.”