Albuquerque man and son of ‘Dateline’ suspect explains how he escaped father’s ‘horrible’ actions

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There is a connection to Albuquerque in NBC’s “Dateline” episode that aired Friday night.

The true crime show put the spotlight on a man and his son in Montana who killed a deputy after luring him into a chase in 2017. Investigators say the motive of the father, Lloyd Barrus, was a hatred for government and law enforcement.

In that story full of abuse, violence and the targeted murder of a law enforcement officer, a man in that troubled family escaped, and he’s happily living in the Duke City.

Al Barrus is one of Lloyd Barrus’ sons. He had nothing to do with those tragic events in Montana, and he rejects them. However, he’s had to grapple with those realities, and now he hopes he can offer help to those who’ve had similar traumatic experiences.

“Those old wounds are still there, and I think talking about it can help,” Barrus told KOB 4 Friday. “We want to share our story of strength and survival and hope with others who might be going through something similar.”

He said he’s happy now. At 39 years old, he works in wildlife conservation in the public sector in Albuquerque with his wife and two kids.

“I love it. This is my forever home,” Barrus said. “It’s the desert sunsets that brought me here.”

Barrus had just moved here in 2017 when he got the call that changed everything. He describes his father’s actions on that day, and many others, as “horrible.”

“Lloyd kept talking about going on a suicide mission,” he said.

Barrus said his brother Marshall, the son who fired the shots that killed the deputy that night in Montana, was not evil – but was a victim of his father’s rage.

Family members believe Lloyd Barrus forced Marshall to shoot and kill the deputy.

“Lloyd was holding a pistol to Marshall’s head, and said, ‘If you don’t do it, I’m going to shoot you,’ and that really describes how my dad treated my brothers,” Barrus said.

Barrus believes misinformation on Facebook fueled his father’s anti-government views and fixation on conspiracy theories. That, combined with twisting Mormon scripture, left him worried.

He said he tried to sound the alarm on the dangers his dad posed just weeks before the shooting, but authorities did nothing.

Decades before the incident that led to the nation paying attention to his family, Barrus describes growing up in the home of a monster.

He said his father left a trail of misery, affecting everyone in his path. When Barrus was six years old, fearing his father, his mother took him and his four sisters and left.

“We escaped from there in the middle of the night,” Barrus said.

He had little contact with his dad and brothers afterward.

Barrus has since had to come to terms with what his father and brother did in 2017.

“When I read things about what they’ve done, it’s easy for me to see that that could have been me,” he said. “I’ve been afraid of ending up like my dad since I was a little kid. When I was 7 I promised myself I would never be like him.”

He said in some ways the “Dateline” episode is a relief.

“I’ve been ashamed of this my entire life, but now I don’t have to be ashamed,” Barrus said. “I would like for people out there who maybe also survived that kind of extremism, that kind of abuse, I’d like them to rid themselves of the guilt and the shame. We can prove to the world that we can go on and make it better.”

Barrus said his mom is the real hero, allowing him to escape and live his life.