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UPDATE: Suspect arrested after 4 people shot, including trooper

Officials were called to a shooting at a Missoula hotel late Thursday night. (Photo: NBC Montana)

A Montana Highway Patrol trooper was one of four people shot during related shootings in the Missoula area late Thursday.

The Missoula County sheriff's office says the suspect, 29-year-old Johnathan Bertsch, was arrested Friday morning near Evaro

The first shooting occurred between the occupants of two vehicles near Missoula International Airport just before 11 p.m. Two men and a woman were taken to the hospital.

Law enforcement officers were searching for the suspect northwest of Missoula when a trooper was shot near the Evaro Bar around midnight. The trooper also was taken to a Missoula hospital.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said she could not comment on the injuries suffered by the victims until their families were contacted.

Justice Department spokesman John Barnes said information on the trooper's condition would be released later Friday.

Highway 93 North remains closed for the time being.

6 a.m. update:

NBC Montana confirmed a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper was shot early this morning. Officials are currently looking for a male suspect on the run in the Evaro area.

MHP officials say the trooper went to the hospital with injuries, but we don't know the extent of those injuries yet.

In a statement, MHP officials say the suspect is armed and dangerous and ask all residents in the Evaro area to lock their doors and call 911 if they see suspicious activity.

The statement closes by saying, "Please keep our trooper in your prayers."

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The Missoula County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Brenda Bassett says there's a public safety risk for Arlee and the surrounding area as law enforcement officers search for a shooting suspect after two separate but related incidents that started late Thursday night. Bassett confirmed just before 3 a.m. the second incident was an officer-involved shooting, but the extent of injuries, if any, is unclear.

Lake County Sheriff Don Bell confirms Highway 93 North four miles past the Wye is shut down as authorities are actively looking for that suspect in the Arlee area. Sheriff Bell says they are searching for a white Chevrolet Suburban.

Lake County is assisting Missoula County and the Montana Highway Patrol after a series of events that started on Expressway in Missoula just before 11 p.m. Thursday. A Missoula police officer confirmed a shooting happened near Lithia dealership. Police say two people went to the hospital with gunshot wounds after a fight started between them and the occupant(s) of a white Chevy Suburban. The Suburban left the scene. We don't know the extent of the victims' injuries.

Just after the reports of shots fired, NBC Montana confirmed Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula locked down. In a release, a hospital spokesperson says they locked down at 11:41 p.m. because of warnings of a public safety risk.

In a statement, James McKay, M.D., Chief Physician Executive – Acute Care said, “After receiving the public safety message, the hospital went into lockdown out of an abundance of caution for our patients and caregivers. Staff monitored the incident, and by communicating with the Missoula County officials, determined there was no known immediate threat, and lifted the lockdown at 1:43 a.m. No patients were affected, and patient care was not impacted as a result of the lockdown.”

Around midnight, police received reports of another shooting at the Evaro Bar involving an officer.

Law enforcement officials are not commenting on injuries or the amount of victims from the Evaro shooting at this time. Again, they are actively searching for a suspect in the Arlee area, but urge everyone in Missoula and Lake Counties to lock your doors and stay vigilant.

We have several reporters on scene. Stay with NBC Montana as we continue to follow this developing story.


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