Fallen trooper remembered

Fallen Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield was remembered on Tuesday with a ceremony in Mason County at the Pere Marquette Township Fire Department. Speaking is MSP First Lt. Jeffrey White (right).

Fallen Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield was remembered on Tuesday with a ceremony in Mason County at the Pere Marquette Township Fire Department. Speaking is MSP First Lt. Jeffrey White (right).

Tuesday marks one year since Butterfield’s death

MASON COUNTY — One year ago Tuesday, the details about the murder of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield started to surface.

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials came together to remember Butterfield and his sacrifice.

“The MSP Hart post pauses today to reflect upon the one year anniversary of the death of Trooper Paul Butterfield,” said First Lt. Jeffrey White. “The past year has seen us all shocked and saddened by the murder of (Butterfield), but it has also seen us galvanized and rededicated to ensuring public safety in our community.”

The MSP members were joined on Tuesday with local law enforcement leaders who partnered in the response and search for Knysz in the hours following the shooting. The group thanked the community for its strong and ongoing support, whether it was in the form of vigils or condolences on a daily basis.

“It strengthens our resolve to serve the public that has so graciously embraced and supported it,” White said.

“We have never been more proud to wear our uniforms and be a part of the police departments that serve this community and the great State of Michigan. We will not let this tragedy diminish the importance of what we do.”

Butterfield was shot on Sept. 9, 2013, while conducting a traffic stop on Knysz, 20, of Irons, on Custer Road in Mason County. Butterfield conducted the stop at 6:20 p.m. and a passing motorist called 911 three minutes later to report finding the trooper on the ground with a bullet wound to the head.

Butterfield was transported to the Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, where he died during emergency surgery. In April, Knysz was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder, and he committed suicide by hanging himself in a cell days later.

A memorial was set up outside fallen Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield's mobile office at the Pere Marquette Township Fire Department.

A memorial was set up outside fallen Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield’s mobile office at the Pere Marquette Township Fire Department.

Mason County prosecutor Paul Spaniola said on Tuesday that the case was personal for him.

“It was an honor for me to prosecute this case on behalf of (Butterfield) and on behalf of all law enforcement officers that we interact with on a daily basis,” Spaniola said. “I am glad we are able to put a lot of it behind us. A lot of healing has taken place, and healing will continue.”

White said on Tuesday that Butterfield gave the ultimate sacrifice in his service. He commended the local support that has been shown toward the fallen trooper in the form of scholarships, events and memorials.

State Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, introduced a bill in state House to dedicate the final portion of M-116 leading to the Ludington State Park as the Trooper Paul Butterfield Memorial Highway. The bill has passed the House and is with the Senate, White said, and it isn’t expected to be an issue in passing.

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky

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