BOZEMAN — The man accused of shooting and killing two brothers early Saturday morning appeared in Gallatin County Court on Tuesday morning.
Zachary Eugene Norman, 24, of Three Forks, was arrested on two counts of intentional homicide in connection with the Saturday, January 15, 2022 shooting investigation.
In Gallatin County court on Tuesday, Judge Bryan Adams ordered the $1 million bail with a GPS monitor and random tests for Norman. Norman’s attorney noted that he had no criminal history and requested $10,000 bond.
Judge Adams ordered Norman not to leave the state, without possession of firearms or possession of alcohol. Norman’s next court appearance has been set for February 11 in the district court.
Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer identified the victims as brothers Brendan Estabrook, 32, of Three Forks, and Chase Estabrook, 31, of Butte.
According to court documents, at approximately 3:28 a.m. on Saturday, January 15, 2022, the Gallatin County dispatcher received calls regarding a shooting in Three Forks near 6th Avenue and Ash Street. A second reporting party said they believe both victims died of their injuries.
Gallatin County sheriff’s deputies who responded to the scene learned that a man named “Zac” may have been responsible for the shooting.
The three witnesses at the scene were interviewed, with one identifying himself as a bartender at the Sacajawea Inn bar. He told the investigator that “Zac”, later identified as Zachary Norman, was at the bar, along with the two other witnesses and the two brothers. They all agreed to go to one of the witnesses’ residences when the bar closed at 2 a.m.
After he finished closing the bar around 3 a.m., the bartender came to the house and observed Norman arguing with the two victims. A physical altercation reportedly took place, but the bartender told the deputy he believed the fight was over when Norman began walking away from the residence, followed by the two victims.
The bartender then heard a “commotion” and saw Norman struggling with the victims near the intersection of East 6th Avenue and E. Ash Street. As he approached, he reportedly heard about five or six shots, followed by a few more shots after a brief pause. He then saw Norman flee the scene. The bartender called 911 after discovering the victims were suffering from what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.
The other two witnesses told deputies that Norman began arguing with the victims, which escalated into a physical altercation. They heard gunshots or loud noises outside after the fight, then discovered the victims near the intersection.
Norman was later detained at this residence after deputies tracked his address using a records check on a vehicle left in the driveway and then transported to the Law and Justice Center in Bozeman.
Detectives questioned Norman, who allegedly told them that he and a friend had been out that night at establishments in the Three Forks area, including the bar. He allegedly told detectives that the next thing he remembered was being woken up by his father who informed him that law enforcement needed to speak to him. When asked, Norman said he usually carried a Glock 19 9mm handgun concealed on him in a holster inside his belt. He reportedly said he always carried his handgun with one cartridge in the chamber and usually had a second magazine on him, but claimed he did not know where his handgun was currently located and that he couldn’t remember if he wore it the night before.
According to the charging documents, Norman provided several inconsistent statements, was evasive in his answers and continued to claim that he did not remember any of the events. Later in the interview, detectives reported that Norman admitted to carrying his concealed handgun on him when he went to the bar and remembered more of the events of that night.
While executing a search warrant at Norman’s residence, detectives located a Glock 19 handgun in a plastic holder inside the belt, with a partially loaded magazine behind the water heater in a closet. The ammunition found in the handgun would have appeared to match used casings found at the crime scene.
Neighbors who spoke to MTN News said they thought it sounded like fireworks and they didn’t realize what was happening until they heard and saw the forces of the order rush to the scene.
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