SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) A trooper who was shot in the head, face, and neck while searching for a suspected killer is now back home to Montana after two months of treatment here in Utah.
Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer was greeted Wednesday afternoon at the airport in Missoula by a strong showing of law enforcement.
Before heading home to Montana, his wife and others sat down to thank Utah for all it has done to help Palmer and his family.
“You all have been so amazing – without all of you we wouldn’t be able to go home today.”
Those were some of the first words Lindsey Palmer shared during a news conference on Wednesday.
The wife of Trooper Palmer chocked up as she thanked surgeons for helping her husband survive and begin his recovery after being shot in March.
“You gave us the fighting chance we needed to get through this.” And she thanked the Utah law enforcement community for all their help and support.
“To each and every one of you who took a watch outside our door and continuous times, when I needed a friendly ear to listen to me talk, someone was always there to lean on.”
Montana Highway Patrol officials and Montana’s Attorney General also shared their appreciation to the U of U Hospital and the people and police in Utah.
Colonel Tom Butler said, “I’m not sure words can ever express the help and support that has been given to him.”
Attorney General Tim Fox said, “On behalf of the people of Montana, thank you Utah. We love you.”
Trooper Palmer can walk, communicate and react, but the 35-year-old has lost his ability to talk because of the gunshot wound to his head.
“He is aware of what is going on whose around him and that kind of stuff and follows directions. So, There’s clearly cognitive ability, but I can tell he really wants to talk and we’ll all be happy when he starts talking,” said Colonel Butler.
Those who have been around him for the past two months hope he will continue to improve. Col. Butler said, “Wade hasn’t left my thoughts. Every morning it’s one of the first things I think of and every night it’s one of the last things I think of. I’m just so happy that he is in the position he is today because before it didn’t look that promising.”
After the news conference, Trooper Palmer, his wife, and Montana officials and officers were escorted to the airport. They were greeted by the Fraternal Order of Police here in Utah and helped into a private plane to make the return to Montana. A short trip home – with a long recovery ahead.
“I don’t know where we would be without everything you’ve done for us. You made this scary time a little less scary.” Lindsey Palmer
The man charged with shooting Trooper Palmer is in custody and facing charges.