One of the most violent crimes the state of Montana has ever seen was the May 2017 shooting of 42-year-old Mason Moore. A Broadwater County Sheriff's deputy and a married father-of-three, he was shot in the line of duty by two anti-government extremists named Lloyd and Marshall Barrus.
Moore was shot at least 20 times after the father-son duo deliberately provoked him into a traffic stop. The incident ended with a high-speed car chase that led to another shootout, the death of the alleged shooter Marshall, and the ultimate arrest of Lloyd Barrus.
This Friday, Dateline on NBC will take viewers on an adrenaline-packed journey with Deputy Mason Moore's case. The all-new episode, titled On a Dark, Deserted Highway, will air on the channel on February 3, 2023, at 9 pm ET. As such, this article will further delve into a few key details from the case.
Mason Moore murder case: The shooting death of the Broadwater County deputy by anti-government extremists
1) Lloyd and Marshall Barrus shot Deputy Mason Moore as part of their "suicide mission"
In the early hours of May 16, 2017, Lloyd Barrus and his 38-year-old son, Marshall, two anti-government and anti-law enforcement extremists, talked about going on a "suicide mission" moments before passing by 42-year-old Deputy Sheriff Mason Moore at 100 mph on US 287 south of Townsend.
During the attempted traffic stop, Marshall Barrus reportedly started firing at Deputy Moore's car while his father drove the car. He fired at least three rounds at the officer, one of which struck the officer's head and gravely wounded him. The officer's car came to a halt just south of Three Forks.
2) The father-son duo returned to the scene and fired another round at already wounded Moore
After firing the initial shots at Mason Moore, the perpetrators fled the scene. However, they took a U-turn and returned to his police car a few minutes later and fired another round of shots at him. Marshall Baruss fired the final round, at least 19 more times, which fatally wounded the officer. The two then fled the scene.
A ballistics investigator later revealed that the victim's car was riddled with bullet holes and covered in a significant amount of blood inside. Moore had served in law enforcement for about 15 years at the time of the incident, including three years with the Broadwater County Sheriff's Office. He was married to Jodi Moore and had three children - twin sons and a daughter.
3) Mason Moore's killers then got involved in a high-speed car chase with cops
Lloyd and Marshall Baruss, who were driving a Chevy Suburban during the shooting, were seen speeding on I-90 about an hour later by Butte-Silver Bow police and eventually got involved in a 90-mile high-speed car chase that ended in a shootout in Missoula County. Troopers and officers from multiple counties had arrived at the incident scene.
The shooting between police and the suspects, which took place the same morning Deputy Mason Moore was shot dead, started when their car tires were blown out using stop sticks. Their car came to a halt just miles away from the murder scene. One of the suspects, Marshall, was fatally shot during the confrontation, while the father, Lloyd, was arrested at the scene.
4) Lloyd Barrus was initially deemed unfit to stand trial
Prosecutors sought the death penalty, alleging that Barrus and his son intentionally drew Mason Moore's attention to them on Highway 287 since they both held anti-government beliefs. Barrus' defense attorney contended that he should be placed in Montana State Hospital due to his delusional disorder and inability to recognize the wrongness of his conduct at the time.
Initially, Lloyd Barrus was deemed unfit to stand trial, thus delaying justice in the case. He was administered antipsychotic medication via injection as per District Judge Kathy Seeley's order after he resisted taking normal medication. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the mandatory medical order in January 2020.
5) Barrus was convicted over four years after Mason Moore's murder
In September 2012, over four years after Deputy Mason Moore's shooting death, Lloyd Barrus was found guilty of one count of deliberate homicide and two counts of attempted deliberate homicide. He was sentenced to three concurrent life terms in prison without the possibility of parole in April 2022.