Medium close-up of a mysterious person, clad in a hooded sweatshirt and gas mask. The person's appearance is frightening.
Fringe Montana militiaman David Burgert is the subject of a federal manhunt. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/It'sGreg/Flickr)

The New York Daily News reports that a massive manhunt is under way in the Montana wilderness for 47-year-old David Burgert, an ex-Marine and fringe militia member. It is believed that he is on the run in or near the Lolo National Forest. Authorities claim Burgert is “armed and extremely dangerous.”

Burgert exchanged fire with police

Montana’s Daily Inter Lake newspaper reports that after being pulled over in his Jeep Cherokee for driving erratically on Sunday, David Burgert traded gunfire with Missoula County deputies alongside a jogging trail near U.S. 12. No injuries were reported. After what the Daily News refers to as a 30-mile “slow-speed car chase,” Burgert escaped into the woods with a cache of weapons, according to Missoula County Undersheriff Mike Dominick. State agents – as well as the FBI, National Guard and U.S. Marshals – remain in pursuit with helicopters and tracking dogs.

Preparing for Armageddon

Authorities believe that Burgert had planned on a standoff, based upon evidence he left behind at the scene of the shootout. Ammunition and two automatic rifles were found, and additional handgun bullets were discovered in the Jeep that Burgert left behind.

“He was prepared for a confrontation,” said Dominick. “He drove purposely onto the logging road, and he engaged the deputies with one to three shots.”

Burgert’s quick escape from officers on the scene has led investigators to believe that a second vehicle – likely an SUV – was stashed along a planned escape route. It is possible that food and additional weapons were stashed inside that vehicle.

Burgert may have escaped the area

Considering that Burgert appears to have planned the confrontation and that authorities have yet to locate the survivalist, Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry conceded to the Daily Inter Lake that he may be lost.

“(Authorities) do not necessarily think they have him contained in that area,” said Curry.

Burgert’s ties to Project 7

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound, brown-eyed, brown-haired Burgert is the former leader of Project 7, a Montana-based militia that is known by the FBI to have plotted the assassinations of local politicians and police en route to overthrowing the federal government.

When Burgert was sentenced on weapons charges in 2004, he was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder. During the Sunday confrontation with Missoula County deputies, Burgert reportedly exclaimed that he “wasn’t going to be taken down like last time,” and that it would take “a SWAT team” to stop him now.

Why militias are formed


Daily Inter Lake:

NY Daily News:

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