Montana

Jun 20, 2012 10:45 AM by Dennis Bragg - MTN News

Searchers comb Montana woods for signs of missing fugitive

MISSOULA - Missoula County Sheriff's deputies are combing the woods near Lolo Pass Wednesday in hopes of finding any additional clues as to what became of a fugitive who had a shoot out with deputies a year ago.

David Burgert led deputies on a high speed chase up U.S. Highway 12 outside of Lolo before turning off on Graves Creek Road on June 12 of last year. After driving into the woods for several miles, Burgert bailed out of his Jeep, firing several shots at deputies before walking into the woods.

Investigators have always believed that Burgert, who had a history of militia activity and run-ins with law enforcement, appeared to be trying to ambush the deputies. That danger prevented deputies from doing a detailed search that afternoon.

The next day, SWAT officers conducted a more extensive search in the rugged terrain. But worsening weather conditions delayed a further search.

A single gunshot was heard in the area a few hours after the shootout, leading to some speculation Burgert may have committed suicide. But a later search with a dog trained to find bodies turned up no results.

Now, the sheriff's office is using a larger team of civilian searchers is conducting a more thorough search of the area.

Burgert is still wanted on a $500,000 warrant for attempted deliberate homicide.

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