HART, Mich. – A state trooper who was fatally wounded during a traffic stop in western Michigan played a key role in leading police to the person they believe shot him, authorities said Tuesday.
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," Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement. "They are heroes."