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Law enforcement, friends remember Trooper Butterfield
MANISTEE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Law enforcement agencies from across the country traveled to Michigan Saturday to pay their respects to Trooper Paul Butterfield.
Friends and family said goodbye to the 43-year-old Michigan State Police trooper and army vet. For more than a decade, Butterfield risked his own life while protecting others, working from the Hart and Manistee posts.
Monday night, Butterfield was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Sheridan Township.
Law enforcement agencies from across the country -- as far as Alaska -- were at the funeral. They say it's a brotherhood, and while Saturday they're here for this trooper, they know tomorrow it could be them.
Thousands of people packed into Manistee High School's gym to pay their respects to Butterfield. "It's a terrible loss, like I said, but in the short period he was here, he definitely touched a lot of people's lives," high school classmate Kevin Atwater says.
"He was a good man and I think it was good to know that we had people like him helping to protect us," friend Tom Biggs says.
"I'm going to tell Paul that I'll never forget him and I ask all of you to never forget Trooper Paul Butterfield," Michigan State Police director Col. Kristie Kibbey Etue says.
It was a somber event, but it was also a service with some moments of laughter, as stories were shared about Butterfield and his love for animals.
"It was a domestic violence situation. Both parties were arrested and Paul made sure the cat had food and water," Gov. Rick Snyder says.
Butterfield's death brought people from across Michigan. Some of his Bridgeport High School classmates drove in from the east side of the state. "To know him was to love him and to not be here, to me, was like a dishonor, so to see all the people here and giving respect is truly a blessing," high school classmate Maurice Hopgood says.
There were dozens of others who came in from across the country, like Trooper Chad Conder from Arkansas. "As they played the taps, tears were running down my cheeks because I looked at Mr. Butterfield and I hope that's not my father next weekend in the same situation," Conder says.
"He's a man or honor, a man of integrity and the law enforcement family shows up to honor that," 1st Lt. Dale Hinz of the MSP Paw Paw post says.
For these men and women who serve, it's a brotherhood. So they come out remember one of their own and honor a man who served so many.
"You can't stress enough how important one officer is, whether he's a city cop, a county cop, state or federal. We all bleed the same blood," Conder says. "You come to these things to pay your respects and you hope that you're not the next one getting your respects paid for."
"He's going to be truly missed," Atwater says. Butterfield leaves behind his father, a retired Michigan State Police trooper; his stepmother; and his fiancee, Jennifer. The two were planning to get married next October.
The tributes continue. A candle-light vigil is being held at Waterfront Park in Ludington Saturday night. The public is welcome.
Meanwhile, two people are behind bars with charges related to Trooper Butterfield's death. 19-year-old Eric Knysz was officially charged with murder, along with several other felonies, Friday.
His pregnant wife Sarah is charged with being an accessory after the fact and stealing a car.
Those wishing to make a memorial contribution to the Butterfield family may send checks payable to:
Michigan State Troopers Assistance Fund 1715 Abbey Rd, Suite B East Lansing, MI 48823 Memo: Tpr. Paul Butterfield II