IRONS, Mich. (WOOD) - Family has identified the suspects in the shooting and killing of a Michigan State Police trooper as Eric Knysz and his wife Sarah Knysz.
Trooper Paul Butterfield, 43, was shot in the head during a traffic stop northeast of Ludington in Mason County around 6:20 p.m. Monday. He was airlifted to the hospital and died there later Monday night during emergency surgery.
Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola says he's waiting for final paperwork from police to determine what charges will be filed against Eric and Sarah Knysz.
Eric's father Jack Knysz, a former Calumet City (Ill.) Police Department officer, said he is missing .357 Magnum handgun from his home. Police will not confirm whether that was the gun used in the shooting, though it is known the weapon believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered Tuesday.
Jack doesn't want to believe his son could have done this, but he wanted the trooper's family to know he was hurting for them.
"Our whole family, our hearts and our prayers go out to the trooper, his family, and all the other troopers. I'm at a loss for words," Jack said.
Jack said his son was shot in the knee. Eric is at Munsen Medical Center in Traverse City -- the same hospital to which Butterfield was airlifted.
He said he can't understand what happened and wants a chance to talk to his son, who is 19.
"As a father, there's all kinds of questions. And I think in the next couple of days all them will be answered, but yes, it's possible that something unforeseen happened. Eric was at the scene, yes, but whether he pulled the trigger or not, I can't say," he said.
But, he said, authorities won't yet let him speak with his son.
"I haven't talked to my son, but I understand they won't let me, but I'd just like to. I'd like him to answer a few of my questions, that's all," he said.
Eric has been married to Sarah for a year and a half. She is six months pregnant, Jack said.
The Mason County Sheriff's Department says Sarah is in good physical condition at the county jail, though she has been tearful at times.
Jack said Eric and Sarah borrowed Jack's pickup truck and were en route to a hospital in Ludington because Eric wanted to get his shoulder checked out. He did not know why Eric was pulled over, but said it may have been due to a loud muffler on the truck.
Jack said he did not know Eric had a gun.
He said he doesn't know why his son would have wanted to shoot a trooper.
"When the police came over last night, I was helpful," he said. "I tried to give them all the information I can to try to expedite so it would end, and hopefully my son would be found innocent."
Eric has had "some scrapes with the law," Jack said, but is a "decent kid."
Eric was 14 when he was charged with home invasion and was charged with impaired driving last fall. He was also busted for carrying a switchblade that, according to state police, got him a year in jail. And he spend 93 days in jail for domestic violence.
Jack said he thought his son would have respect for law enforcement and that this is a "shock."
"This is the worst day of my life," Jack said.
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