Mother remembers son who was killed in line of duty - WNEM TV 5


Mother remembers son who was killed in line of duty

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Pat Butterfield holds a photo of her deceased son who was killed in the line of duty. (Sourcre: WNEM) Pat Butterfield holds a photo of her deceased son who was killed in the line of duty. (Sourcre: WNEM)

"For a long time it was hard to even do anything," Pat Butterfield said.

It was a mother's heartache. A state trooper was found shot, lying on the side of the road.

It's a story that shocked a small town. A state trooper conducting a routine traffic stop was gunned down and left for dead.

The tragedy left two parents grieving the loss of their only child, but the pain of losing a child was only the beginning for Pat Butterfield.

"I'm just starting now to get back to doing things and putting things together," she said.

Pat Butterfield can't soon forget the chapter two and half years ago that began to unravel the threads of comfort in her happy home.

"I remember we got home, we weren't in the house 10 minutes," Pat Butterfield said. "It was so surreal, surreal type of thing."

A man in uniform at her front door delivered the news. Pat Butterfield’s only son, Michigan State Trooper Paul Butterfield, had been shot and left for dead on the side of the road in rural Mason County on Sept. 9, 2013.

Paul Butterfield pulled over 19-year-old Eric Knysz. Following protocol he called in Knysz's plate and location. It would be his last call back.

Knysz shot Paul Butterfield in the head as he walked up to his truck. Butterfield died in surgery later that night.

Knysz was found guilty of first-degree murder, but he later killed himself behind bars.

That left another wound on Pat Butterfield’s heart.

“It’s something you can’t explain to people,” she said. “I am glad he’s not with us anymore.”

She and her husband, retired state trooper Paul Senior, were left to tackle their grief together. Then Pat Butterfield was dealt another blow.

“About nine months after Paul was murdered my husband lost his battle to leukemia. So that left me to take care of the rest of things,” she said.

Things that were once easy for a couple was a new challenge to tackle along.

“We decided to establish a scholarship and then Paul’s dad passed before we could get it into practice,” Pat Butterfield said.

However, she made it a reality. Any Michigan state trooper or member of their family can apply to receive $1,000 towards their education.

“Last year we were able to supply three people with scholarships and hoping to do the same this year,” Pat Butterfield said.

She hopes the scholarship will create more troopers like both her husband and her son, who she never thought would follow in his father’s footsteps.

“As a little boy everyone says, ‘I’m not gonna do that, cause that’s what my dad does.’ Ya know? It turned out, that way it was unique. They use to talk a lot on the phone and share old cop stories,” Pat Butterfield said.

She hopes her beloved son’s story will be shared for years to come. As her cherished memories are the only thing to deafen the silence of her broken heart.

“He was kind. He loved animals. He was a great policeman. Sad part of it, he did his job,” she said. “People call him a hero, but he was a hero because of how he lived, not how he died.”

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