LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) - One of the officers who responded to the scene where Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield was shot said he sat with his friend and prayed as paramedics worked to save him.
Butterfield, 43, was shot in the head during a traffic stop northeast of Ludington Monday evening and died during emergency surgery at a Traverse City hospital a few hours later. Two people have been arrested in connection to the crime.
Several officers were on the scene in rural Mason County as Butterfield fought for his life for more than an hour before Aero Med arrived. Among them was Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, a longtime friend of Butterfield.
"He was there when my kids graduated, and was at my house for the open house when my kids graduated," Cole said. "It's tough."
Cole was one of the first officers to get to the scene and sat with Butterfield as emergency workers tried to save his life.
"I knew it was bad because the sergeant and I had made eye contact and I knew by looking at the seasoned veteran that this wasn't good. So I excused myself from the sergeant and went into the ambulance and sat with Paul as they tended to him," Cole said. "I kept telling him, 'Just hang in there, buddy. We're gonna be OK.'"
He said he prayed for the best, but he knew things were grim.
"I knew it was a serious, serious injury," Cole said.
He stayed with Butterfield until Aero Med arrived. Then, he said, he "stepped aside and let them get going with him."
He said fellow law enforcement officers and Butterfield's family are grieving.
"It's just tough. It's a dark, dark hour. It's a dark, dark day for our community," Cole said.
Butterfield was recently engaged.
He joined MSP in 1999. He previously served at the Manistee Post but had been with the Hart Post for two years. He's also a veteran of the U.S. Army.
"Paul took every call that I went with him on as a personal call," Cole said. "It wasn't like it was his job."
And he had a family history in law enforcement -- his father was also a state trooper.
Friends' memories show Butterfield was well-loved and respected. He had a great sense of humor, they said, loved his pets and was affectionately known as "Butter-Bean."
Originally from the Frankenmuth area, he still kept in touch with his high school track coach at Bridgeport, school near Saginaw where he still holds multiple records.
"You don't get Paul Butterfields very often as runners for your team," former coach Leonard Callard said. "He just loved to run and he was really good at it."
Funeral services have not yet been arranged.
A public candlelight vigil has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at Waterfront Park in Ludington, according to the Remembering Trooper Paul Butterfield Facebook page.
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