Local police mourn the death of trooper killed on duty

ALPENA – Troopers at the Michigan State Police Alpena Post placed black memorial ribbons over their badges Tuesday in tribute to an officer killed downstate during a traffic stop.

Trooper Paul Butterfield II was shot to death around 6:20 p.m. Monday in rural Mason County after he stopped a vehicle, according to reports. Minutes later, a passing motorist called 911 after finding Butterfield on the ground with a head wound. The 43-year-old was flown to Munson Hospital where he died during emergency surgery.

“What do you say in a time like this,” Sgt. Stuart Sharp said Tuesday afternoon.

He and other troopers at the Alpena post, as well as other officers around the state, will wear the ribbons until after Butterfield’s funeral.

“It hits home for people across the state,” MSP Spokeswoman Shanon Banner said. “They always say there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. You never know what you are going into.”

Butterfield is the 51st state police officer to die in the line of duty since the force was founded in 1907. According to a memorial website, the first was Trooper Harold Anderson, shot March 12, 1921, while investigating a suspicious vehicle near Novi. Closer to home, Trooper Larry Forreider was shot to death near Alpena Dec. 5, 1974, after he and a partner stopped a vehicle for defective tail lights.

Based on Butterfield’s initial calls to the post’s dispatch center, investigators were able to develop a lead on a suspect, Banner said. Troopers later tracked down the man and a woman at a convenience store gas station in Wellston around 8:30 p.m.

The town is about 25 miles north east of the location where Butterfield was killed.

When the suspect allegedly pointed a gun at the officers, he was wounded, Banner said. He and the woman were taken into custody. Their names have not been released.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at blehndorff@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.