ROCKFORD, Mich. — A state trooper who was fatally shot during a traffic stop in western Michigan played a key role in leading police to the person they believe shot him, authorities said today.
State police Lt. Chris McIntire said Trooper Paul Butterfield provided location and vehicle information to a dispatcher before he was shot Monday evening in Mason County.
“What he did was perfect,” McIntire said during a news conference at the state police’s Rockford post. “You can’t prepare for something like this. He did the right thing.”
Butterfield stopped a vehicle at 6:20 p.m. in Sherman Township, and three minutes later a motorist called 911 to report that a trooper had been shot in the head. Butterfield, 43, died during emergency surgery at Munson hospital. Sherman Township is about 80 miles north of Grand Rapids.
A vehicle later was found based on the information Butterfield had called in, and police located two suspects some 15 miles away at a gas station in Wellston around 8:30 p.m. Police exchanged gunfire with the suspects, and one suspect was shot.
A man and woman were taken into custody. The man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No one has been charged.
“We have a lot to do yet. We are trying to piece the investigation together,” McIntire said. “We want to do it right.”
Butterfield, who became a trooper in 1999, was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He was the son of a retired police officer and spent most of his time at a post in Manistee before he was transferred to Hart in Oceana County, 30 miles south of the shooting site.
“This senseless incident is a grim reminder that our brave public safety officers put their lives on the line every day when they go to work protecting Michiganders,” said Gov. Rick Snyder, who ordered U.S. flags at state buildings be lowered to half-staff from today through Butterfield’s funeral. “They are heroes.”