HART, Mich.- The Monday death of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield, is a somber reminder that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. Butterfield was shot and killed around 6:20 p.m. after pulling a car over. Officers later caught up to the man and woman they believe are behind his death.
The black ribbon, placed across a badge as a sign of grief, has been all too commonly put into place for fellow officers. Since 2007, the end of watch has ended too early for West Michigan officers.
On July 8, 2007, Grand Rapids Police Officer Robert “Bobby” Kozminski, 29, was ambushed when he responded to a domestic disturbance on Emerald Ave. NE. Kozminski died from a gun shot wound to the head. His killer is now serving a life sentence.
A few years later, on April 18, 2011, Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata, 35, responded along with a fellow officer to a report of shots fired on Hays Park Avenue. When the officer with Zapata asked a man on the porch if he heard the shots, he took off running. When Ofcr. Zapata confronted the man in between two houses, bullets struck Zapata in the head and chest. His killer turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.
It was only months later, October 13, 2011, Walker Police Officer Trevor Slot, 41, joined in on the pursuit of Ravenna bank robber that were headed his way on I-96. While throwing out a stop strip, Slot was struck and killed. The bank robbers crashed their car. After an exchange of gunfire, the robbers were killed.
If you would like to leave a reflection for Trooper Butterfield or any other fallen officer, head to the Officer Down Memorial Page.