HELENA – Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer, who was seriously injured in a shooting incident March 15 in Missoula, continues to receive medical treatment at University Hospital in Salt Lake City. While he is showing indications that he recognizes certain people and things, all of his interactions remain non-verbal; he continues to interact with hand gestures and facial expressions. The extent of how much he understands remains unknown at this time, according to a press release from the Highway Patrol.
Nearly every day, Palmer undergoes physical therapy for continued strengthening of his left arm and leg. Limited movement has been detected on his right side. He is scheduled to have the wiring and screws from his reconstructive jaw surgery removed this week.
“The tasks that you or I take for granted have become much more significant for Wade,” said Col. Tom Butler, chief of the Montana Highway Patrol. “His brain is becoming more aware of the sensory input and is relearning how to connect the dots, so to speak.”
On March 15, Trooper Palmer was shot in the neck, face, and head, after locating the suspect involved in an earlier shooting that injured two and killed one in Missoula. He was transported to St. Patrick Hospital in critical condition and eventually flown to Salt Lake City.
For those who do not have social media accounts, the Montana Highway Patrol has created a webpage at https://dojmt.gov/highwaypatrol/wade-palmer/ with information about the Palmer shooting. The page features updates on Trooper Palmer as they become available, a list of all approved fundraisers that will continually be update, a synopsis of events, thank you notes and photos integrated into the site from the “Back the Blue Wear the Green” campaign.
Palmer has been with the Patrol since 2012. In 2015, he was awarded the Patrol’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor, for his heroic lifesaving efforts at the scene of a multiple-vehicle crash involving a mother and her young children in December 2014. Palmer has a wife and two young children.