Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer, who was critically wounded in the line of duty on March 15, 2019, officially retired from the Montana Highway Patrol on Monday, surrounded by family, colleagues and friends.

Attorney General Tim Fox said Palmer chose to take a medical retirement from the Highway Patrol due to his injuries. Fox said it was Palmer’s heroism that helped to bring Jonathan Bertsch to justice after he shot two people to death and severely wounded a third before shooting Palmer near Evaro.

“He was one of the people who responded that fateful night to protect the public,” said Attorney General Fox. “I think that by virtue of his efforts in locating the perpetrator who has since been found guilty of not only shooting Wade but killing other individuals that night and wounding another, Wade located him and got the word out, so that no one else was injured that night.”

At his retirement ceremony on Monday afternoon, Palmer received yet another medal commemorating his heroism in the line of duty.

“For his heroism in being out there and protecting the public that night, he was awarded the Montana Highway Patrol’s highest honor the Medal of Valor,” he said. “What a bittersweet thing it was to have him retire from the patrol, but yet we were able to celebrate his recovery and his family’s strength, as well as the love and support of so many Montanans and others around the country.”

Fox looked back at the stirring acts of respect and support that accompanied Palmer through his hospitalization and continuing treatment.

“What I saw and witnessed, not just here, but also at the hospital in Salt Lake City, the solidarity, the outpouring of love and support, people coming together and raising money,” he said. “I’ll never forget the Utah Highway Patrol Trooper standing guard outside Wade’s hospital room as he struggled for his very life.”

Fox also recalled the day that Palmer returned home from his treatment in Salt Lake City.

“I’ll never forget the homecoming,” he said. “Literally thousands of people lined the roads and streets from the airport into town when Wade and his family got back. They continued, Missoulians in particular, people of all walks of life continue to show love and support for the Palmer family.”

In his retirement, Trooper Palmer plans to continue to focus his energy on his rehabilitation and spending time with his family. He continues to see progress in his recovery efforts, though more work remains due to the severity of his injuries.




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