SHERMAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A Michigan State Police trooper was shot in the head during a traffic stop in Mason County and died Monday night.
Trooper Paul Butterfield, 43, died during emergency surgery at a hospital, MSP confirmed shortly before midnight.
Butterfield worked at a Hart Post detachment and had been with MSP since 1999. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He was newly engaged.
Two people were arrested a few hours after the evening shooting, MSP Rockford Post Commander Lt. Chris McIntyre said in a Monday night press conference before it was confirmed that Butterfield had died.
Butterfield conducted the traffic stop around 6:20 p.m., about a mile from the intersection of N. Custer and E. Beyer roads in Sherman Township. That is northeast of Ludington on the edge of the Manistee National Forest. McIntyre said Butterfield, a "well-seasoned" trooper, had radioed dispatchers that he was performing a traffic stop, as is department protocol.
Someone in the vehicle fired a gun and Butterfield was shot in the head.
About four minutes later, McIntyre said, a passerby came upon Butterfield on the side of the road and called 911.
Butterfield was then airlifted to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City in critical condition, McIntyre said. Butterfield died there during emergency surgery.
Authorities responded in force. Within a few hours of the shooting, MSP developed information about the whereabouts of two suspects -- a male and a female -- based upon the information Butterfield had relayed to dispatchers before the stop.
The suspects, who were driving an alleged stolen, white sedan, were found around 8:25 p.m. about 20 minutes from where the shooting happened at the Dublin General Store gas station in Wellston in Manistee County.
There was an exchange of gunfire involving the suspects and officers from several agencies. The male suspect was shot and taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
Both suspects were placed under arrest. Police released few details about them Monday night.
MSP didn't yet know Monday night why the suspect would have engaged in a gun battle with Butterfield.
Butterfield loved his pets and was affectionately known as "Butter-Bean," 24 Hour News 8 learned. He "absolutely loved being a state trooper," one friend said.
McIntyre said this is a very trying time for everyone, especially the law enforcement community.
"I ask that you keep the trooper and his family in your prayers," McIntyre said.
“Tonight we lost a hero,” Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP, said in a statement Monday. “The entire MSP family, as well as our greater law enforcement family, mourns alongside the Butterfields. Trooper Butterfield’s sacrifice will never be forgotten; may he rest in peace.”
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