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Montana trooper, wounded in shooting, interacts from hospital bed
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Montana trooper, wounded in shooting, interacts from hospital bed

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More good news came from a Utah hospital Tuesday morning, where Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer is being treated after he was critically wounded in a shooting one month ago.

A Department of Justice press release states Palmer, who regained consciousness about two weeks after the March 15 shooting, is showing indications that he recognizes certain people and things. 

His interactions so far remain non-verbal, the press release states, but he is able to interact with hand gestures and facial expressions. 

"The tasks that you or I take for granted have become much more significant for Wade," MHP chief Col. Tom Butler said in a press release Tuesday morning. "His brain is becoming more aware of the sensory input and is relearning how to connect the dots, so to speak."

Palmer is on a daily physical therapy routine for his left arm and leg. Limited movement is detected on his right side, the release states. 

Wiring and screws from his reconstructive jaw surgery are expected to be removed this week.

During the March 15 shooting, Palmer was shot in the neck, face and head. Palmer had come upon the suspect's vehicle from a separate shooting an hour earlier; Shelley Hays, 28, was pronounced dead at the scene while two people were wounded in that incident.

Casey Blanchard, one of the victims who survived the earlier shooting, is also being treated at University Hospital in Utah.

A weekend fundraiser for Palmer in Stevensville raised more than $36,000 for his family, according to Montana Public Radio. The family lives in the Bitterroot.

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