Police are still searching for the former leader of the anti-government “Project 7” militia after he allegedly opened fire on authorities Sunday and led them in a car chase.
David Burgert allegedly fled from authorities who were approaching his car to do a welfare check, after it had been sitting in the parking lot at the Fort Fizzle picnic area along the highway in Missoula County for several hours. As of Monday morning, he had not been found.
After a chase, police say Burgert pulled over to the side of the road and fired at the authorities. No one was hit. He then ran away on foot into the woods.
Missoula County Sheriff Carl Ibsen told KPAX.com that “it, for all the world, seems like he was prepared and perhaps trying to draw the officers in to a, lets call it an ambush situation, where he would have a distinct advantage on them.”
“What we do know is, by his actions and by what transpired, it looks like he was trying to kill a couple of our deputies, and fortunately was unsuccessful,” Ibsen said.
According to the Missoulian, police had pulled over Burgert last week for a moving violation, and he said “he wasn’t going to be taken down like last time,” and “it would take a SWAT team” to arrest him.
Burgert and other members of the Project 7 militia, which was named for the number 7 on the license plates of Flathead County, Montana, have had a slew of legal problems in the past.
KAJ18 of Montana reports:
Back in 2002, Burgert and others in the group were caught with thousands of rounds of ammunition, machine guns and other firearms, pipe bombs and information about police officers, judges and their families. He was arrested after a 24-hour standoff with police.
Burgert was initially sentenced to 10-years in prison, but the conviction was later overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2005. Burgert was then re-sentenced in 2007 to eight years and four months in prison with three years of supervised release for charges of firearms possession. Some of that time had already been served during the time of his re-sentencing.
Burgert has also been named in at least a dozen other criminal and civil complaints in the last 20 years, according to KAJ18.