MISSOULA — The death of one victim in a March shooting spree in the Missoula area, which included a Montana Highway Patrol trooper and two other victims, has been officially ruled a homicide.
The Chelan County, Wash., coroner reported Tuesday that Julie Blanchard died of complications of multiple gunshot wounds to her chest and her torso.
Coroner Wayne Harris told MTN News after reviewing medical records from three hospitals where Blanchard was treated and studying the autopsy, X-rays, tissue samples and blood toxicology test results, the pathologist could only state the cause of death as homicide.
Blanchard died June 3 in a Washington state hospital.
Julie Blanchard, her son Casey Blanchard, and Shelley Hays were shot on March 14 off Expressway Boulevard in Missoula when they pulled over after noticing a vehicle behind them had their flashing lights on.
That's when prosecutors say the suspect, Johnathan Bertsch, opened fire on them. Shelley Hays died on the scene. Both Casey and Julie Blanchard were transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds.
Bertsch was later arrested near Evaro accused of shooting Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer. Both Casey Blanchard and Palmer continue their recovery at their Stevensville homes.
Her autopsy records have been sent to the Missoula county attorney for their investigation.