Gravely wounded Montana Highway Patrol trooper to leave U of U hospital, return to family after 2 months

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer (inset), shot in the line of duty, will be released from University hospital (where trooper friends visited) on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Photos: MHP

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 21, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer, the officer who was gravely wounded after being shot in the line of duty, is returning home to his family after spending more than two months in recovery at the University of Utah Hospital.

Palmer was shot in the face, neck and head the evening of March 15 while tracking a homicide suspect in Missoula, Montana. He was transported to a local hospital in extremely critical condition before being flown to University Hospital in Salt Lake City to receive Level 1 trauma care.

Palmer’s original prognosis was grim and law enforcement officers from across the west traveled to Salt Lake City and spent time posting a vigil outside his room. For many, the trooper’s recovery is nothing short of miraculous.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Wade is coming home,” said Montana Highway Patrol Colonel Tom Butler. “From the very beginning, he has received the best possible medical care and I know that it saved his life.

“Words cannot express my gratitude to all of the health care providers in Missoula and Salt Lake City who have cared for him during these past two months,” Butler said. “Wade has a long road ahead, but I am glad that he will be traveling that road here in Montana with his family, friends, and fellow troopers at his side.”

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According to a statement by the University of Utah, members of Palmer’s care team from will join with members of his family, the Montana Department of Justice, University Police and Utah Highway Patrol to celebrate his recovery and to wish him well as he returns home to his family and life in Montana.

The gathering will take place at Rice-Eccles Stadium at 11:30 a.m. about 10 minutes after a procession escorts Palmer to the airport where he’ll then fly to Missoula.

“Wade will be welcomed home to Montana as a hero,” Montana Attorney General Fox said Tuesday.

“On behalf of the Highway Patrol, the Department of Justice, and the entire Montana law enforcement community, I want to again share my profound thanks to all who have supported Wade and his family in ways large and small, seen and unseen.

“Let us all keep the other victims of that fateful March night in our thoughts and prayers as they continue to receive medical care,” Fox said.

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