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Former Missionary Leads Son on Dangerous High Speed Chase, Shootout With Police
Deputy Mason Moore was just finishing his shift in the early morning hours of May 2017, when he crossed paths with a dangerous man and his son, intent on completing a deadly mission.
One man’s downward spiral from devoted missionary to angry militia man forever altered the lives of many in his path and ended in one of Montana’s most notorious crimes.
The shocking downfall of Lloyd Barrus, a once deeply religious small town boy from Idaho, and the violence he employed along the way — executing a beloved sheriff’s deputy, terrorizing his wives and destroying the lives of his two devoted sons — was the focus of Oxygen’s Dateline: Unforgettable.
Lloyd Barrus' Early Life
Lloyd had once devoted his life to God, spending six months in his early adulthood as a Mormon missionary committed to living a good and honorable life.
It was that promise that attracted Tracy, a fellow Mormon, who agreed to marry Lloyd and be “sealed” for eternity inside a Mormon temple in Idaho.
The newlyweds life began just as Tracy had imagined. Lloyd worked construction and was a good provider for the family, while Tracy gave birth to the couple’s two sons Marshall and Jeffrey. But, when Lloyd began disappearing for “secret” meetings and ranting about the government, violence inside the home also escalated.
“If I didn’t do exactly what I was told, my punishment was marital rape,” Tracy recalled. “There was a time when he took a gun and put it to the temple of my head and fired it and it wasn’t until it clicked that I realized it wasn’t loaded.”
Terrified, Tracy realized that if she stayed in the abusive marriage it could end in death and she made the difficult decision to divorce Lloyd, despite her strong religious convictions.
Lloyd Barrus Meets Second Wife Debra Del Bosque
Tracy tried to find a fresh start. The couple’s divorce agreement declared they’d share custody of the boys. But after she left Marshall and Jeffrey in the care of a neighbor for a weekend to try to decompress, Lloyd kidnapped the boys and moved them hundreds of miles away to Washington.
As Tracy spent years talking to lawyers and trying to find ways to get her sons back, Lloyd met a newly divorced mother of two, Debra Del Bosque, at his Mormon church.
Del Bosque described him as a “nice guy” who she had “a lot of good chemistry” with and the pair quickly married before moving their new blended family to Alaska. Together, they had three more children.
But, much like his first marriage, Del Bosque reported that he soon began having secretive meetings with his neighbor, refused to pay taxes and disappeared for days on what he referred to as “CIA missions.”
The marriage was also filled with violence and Del Bosque said that after Lloyd callously shot a neighbor’s puppy in the head, she decided it was time to flee. With the help of a Mormon bishop, who donned a disguise to purchase her family tickets at the airport, Del Bosque secretly fled with her children. But she had to leave Marshall and Jeffrey behind.
How did Lloyd Barrus indoctrinate his sons, Marshall and Jeffrey?
Alone with their father in Alaska, Lloyd began to indoctrinate his two sons, teaching them how to use weapons and spewing his anti-government rhetoric.
Tracy said Lloyd turned the boys into “monsters,” running them through gun drills and convincing them there would be a war with the U.S. government.
“They were conditioned to have such aberrant beliefs and aberrant behaviors,” she said.
The Arrests of Lloyd and Jeffrey Barrus
By March of 2000, Lloyd was living in Idaho with a new girlfriend and continuing to blame police and the government for his life going awry. Instead of appearing in court for a hearing on a DUI charge, Lloyd and his girlfriend skipped town with his now 20-year-old son Jeffrey behind the wheel.
The trio was driving on US 95, about 60 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada, when a highway patrolman saw the car flying past him. Without any backup, the patrolman pulled the car over and saw firearms openly on display in the vehicle.
He called for backup, but just as backup arrived, Jeffrey took off, leading authorities on a high speed chase into California as they shot at police. When they got to Death Valley, the trio got out of the car and fled into the desert where they dug a makeshift bunker and hid out, despite having no water.
As the stand-off with cops played out, Jeffrey shot down a helicopter, but Lloyd and his son eventually surrendered.
Jeffrey took a plea deal and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes he said he was forced by his father to participate in. .
Lloyd — who insisted his son had been the shooter — was diagnosed with severe paranoid personality disorder and ordered to a psychiatric hospital to receive treatment, before he ultimately pleaded no contest to the charges against him and was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.
When was Lloyd Barrus released from prison?
Lloyd went on to serve 13 years of his sentence before he was released on Jan. 3, 2013. While it could have been a clean slate for Lloyd, he soon fell deep into social media and began posting anti-government material and photos of lynchings.
By then, his son Marshall — who had his own criminal record — had gotten sober and was trying to turn his life around. But when Lloyd dropped in on a family camping trip in Montana, it didn’t take long for Marshall to join his father in his Suburban, where they began drinking and ranting against those in authority.
The two men left the campground in the white Suburban, seemingly looking for trouble.
Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Mason Moore Killed
Just after 2 a.m. on Monday, May 16, 2017, Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Mason Moore, a married father of three, was just finishing his shift and driving past local businesses one final time.
He was spotted on surveillance footage driving by a local gas station that Marshall and Lloyd had stopped at just minutes before. Minutes after he left, the pair were seen driving in the same direction as the deputy.
Before long, they sped past the deputy going at a speed “near 100 miles an hour,” in a move that dared the deputy to stop them.
Moore hits his lights to pull the Suburban over, but Lloyd only continued to accelerate in a situation that was eerily similar to his ride years ago with his younger son.
As they sped down the highway, Moore’s patrol car was hit with gunfire and he stopped responding to the dispatcher’s calls. When a highway patrolman was called to check on the deputy, he arrived to find his patrol car stopped at mile marker 109 with its door open.
The patrolman went up to the door and made the devastating discovery that 42-year-old Moore lay dead inside. The car had been riddled with bullets.
“When they asked for a coroner for Mason, it was like somebody hit me with a truck,” an emotional Sheriff Wynn Meehan recalled.
Lloyd Barrus Taken Into Custody
Around 50 miles down the road, other law enforcement officers caught up with the pair and engaged in a dangerous high-speed chase with speeds up to 140 miles an hour, as Lloyd and Marshall fired a series of gunshots at the officers.
“It was the scariest moment of my life,” Butte-Silver Bow police officer Rich O’Brien recalled. O’Brien propped up his gun and started shooting through his front windshield.
When the car finally came to a stop, Marshall leapt out of the vehicle and opened fire at the officers until he was struck by a bullet. After he fell to the ground, Lloyd kept firing until the pistol was shot from his hand and he was taken into custody.
Where is Lloyd Barrus today?
The chase left Marshall dead and although there were questions about Lloyd’s mental health that delayed his court proceedings for years, he was ultimately sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole as prosecutors described his actions as “pure evil.”
Moore’s grief-stricken widow Jodi, who had been the deputy’s college sweetheart, read a heartbreaking note at the sentencing hearing that he had written to her in case he died in the line of duty.
“What can I say. I hoped to grow old with you and see our grandkids, but that is not to be,” he wrote. “Don’t dwell on the manner of my death. You married a cop and cops tend to die violent deaths. If it is a person who got me, and if he or she is brought to trial and they are convicted or otherwise, don’t let it rule your life. Make sure you enjoy life. I enjoyed every moment with you. I love you now and always.”