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Missoula shooting victim to return home from Utah hospital

Posted at 9:36 AM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-31 14:22:37-04

MISSOULA – Shooting victim Casey Blanchard will return home to Western Montana on Saturday.

Blanchard is being treated at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City after being shot in mid-March in Missoula. Doctors have determined he is ready to transition to the next phase of care.

Blanchard and his wife, Leah, will drive home to Montana and will be met by a Montana Highway Patrol trooper at the Missoula County line, who will lead them down to Stevensville as a show of continued support for the Blanchard family.

They are expected to arrive in Stevensville at approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday and anyone who wishes to show support for the Blanchards should line Brooks Street in Missoula or meet at the Stevensville Wye.

“These past few months, we’ve been surrounded by a strong medical team here at the University of Utah that kept us moving at every hurdle. Although Casey is now a paraplegic and has other limitations, we are both adjusting to this huge change to our lives and we are continuously improving every day,” the Blanchards said.

“We want to thank Casey’s medical team, along with the amazing troopers who let us in with open arms during our stay here.  We also want to thank our hometown for all the support, love, and prayers that have been sent our way. We truly couldn’t have come out as strong as we have without you guys,” the Blanchards added.

Casey Blanchard family
Photo of the family of Casey Blanchard. (photo credit: Montana Highway Patrol)

“I can’t recall an incident in recent years in Montana that brought so many people together in support as that tragic night in March,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “The outpouring of assistance from across Montana and in Salt Lake City on behalf of Casey and his family has been incredible.

“To the public, to our Montana Highway Patrol, and to Utah’s law enforcement community, I sincerely thank each of you for embracing the Blanchards in their time of need.  I ask for your continued prayers and well wishes for them, and for the other families involved, as they find a new way forward with their lives,” Fox added.

Casey Blanchard was shot on the evening of March 14 in Missoula when he exited his vehicle to check on a motorist who he thought needed assistance.

Blanchard, who was shot in the left arm, right chest, spine, abdomen and both legs, was transported to Saint Patrick Hospital in critical condition and eventually flown to Salt Lake City to receive Level I trauma care at the University of Utah Hospital.

Blanchard has undergone 10 surgeries and was moved to the hospital’s rehabilitation care unit on April 16.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer was shot attempting to locate the same suspect involved in the shootings that injured Blanchard, his mother, Julie Blanchard, and killed Shelley Hays.

Palmer and his wife, Lindsey, returned home from Salt Lake City to Stevensville last week.

Casey Blanchard will begin home-based therapy as his recovery continues. While the family is happy to share this news publicly, they also respectfully request privacy as they readjust to life at home.