SALT LAKE CITY — A photo shows both Montana and Utah police officers lining the hallways of the University of Utah Hospital, standing guard over Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer.
“We won’t leave his side. There’s going to be somebody here for the duration, until he’s back in Montana,” said Sergeant Sean Finley, Palmer’s supervisor with the Montana Highway Patrol. “He’s a hero. He deserves this."
Palmer was shot in the line of duty Friday, March 15, while addressing a suspect believed to have fatally shot another person in the area near Missoula.
“He is a trooper that is well respected. He is a trooper that can be counted on, and he’s a trooper that doesn’t shy away from dangerous situations," Finley said. "That’s what put him in this situation, is he found a violent criminal that allegedly killed another person."
“That’s what he does. He does the right thing. He supports the mission of the highway patrol and he’s out there saving lives,” Finley continued.
One man has been taken into custody, but police have not yet released his name.
“It was a violent act and there’s all sorts of emotions that I’m feeling,” Finley said.
Palmer was LifeFlighted to Salt Lake City, where he remained in critical condition.
“There are some rough moments, but we’re family and this is what we do,” Finley said.
With emotions running high, the boys in blue from Montana and Utah said they would stay by his side.
“This act doesn’t define us as a community. This act makes us stronger, and family takes care of their own,” Finley said.
A GoFundMe account was set up for Palmer. More than $100,000 was raised in less than one day.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was also in Utah. He thanked everyone for the support for Sgt. Palmer and the Montana Highway Patrol.
"Leading that effort is the Utah Highway Patrol, which have been absolutely incredible," Fox said. "They have two troopers that are at the hospital one just outside Trooper Palmer's door, having a vigilant watch for him all the time. Individuals from the Fraternal Order of Police have come up with food and help with lodging for the family. I've rarely seen this kind of outpouring of support."