Officials say a Montana Highway Patrol trooper is conscious and his condition is stable more than two weeks after being shot three times while investigating a fatal Missoula shooting.

Highway Patrol chief Col. Tom Butler said in a statement Tuesday he is grateful for Trooper Wade Palmer’s progress, but he is aware that Palmer has a long journey ahead of him.

The statement says the 35-year-old Palmer is not yet speaking, but he recognizes certain people and commands. He has been moved out of a critical care unit and is scheduled for reconstructive surgery on Thursday for injuries to his jaw.

Palmer was shot on March 15 while investigating a shooting that killed one person and wounded two others.

Twenty-eight-year-old Johnathan Bertsch has pleaded not guilty to charges of homicide and attempted homicide.

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