Mich. Sheriff's Deputy Killed in Shootout with Suspect

June 28, 2024
A suspect was fatally shot when he opened fire on officers following a manhunt after the gunman allegedly shot and killed a Hillsdale County sheriff's deputy.

By Eleanor Whitaker and George Hunter

Source The Detroit News

The Hillsdale County sheriff's deputy who was shot and killed Thursday afternoon during a traffic stop was a 51-year-old military veteran who served in the Iraq War, according to the Michigan State Police.

The sheriff's office said the slain deputy, William Henry Butler Jr., acted as backup for another officer, a detective sergeant, who recognized a driver as having active arrest warrants and performed the traffic stop on Beecher Road near Lamb Road in in Jefferson Township, southwest of Hillsdale.

The passenger of the vehicle refused to identify himself, but the officers identified him as 34-year-old Jonesville resident Eric Michael Fiddler, who also had two arrest warrants.


The officer took the driver into custody and attempted to arrest Fiddler, but Fiddler removed a gun from his waistband, shot Butler and ran into a wooded area. Butler was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff's office.

Butler became the 73rd law enforcement officer in the country to die in the line of duty this year, which is up 12% from the same period in 2023, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page website that tracks officer deaths. Butler is the 27th officer to be killed by gunfire, the same as last year’s year-to-date total.

Butler becomes the third law enforcement officer in Michigan to die this year while on duty, the second by gunfire. The other one was Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Bradley Reckling, whose funeral was held Friday in Auburn Hills. A state trooper was struck by a vehicle and died in January, according to the officer memorial website.

There have been 669 law enforcement officers killed in Michigan’s history, according to the database that goes back to 1776.

Butler was the third law enforcement officer with the Hilldale County Sheriff’s Office to be killed in the line of duty and the first since Undersheriff Harland Wood was fatally shot on Oct. 6, 1930 while trying to arrest an ex-convict who’d written a bad $2 check, according to the site. On Dec. 31, 1903, Hillsdale Deputy Nelson Cook died from head wounds he sustained after a man he’d arrested for forging money orders wrested his revolver and struck him with it on the skull multiple times.

After the shooting, the Michigan State Police said its aviation and emergency support teams as well as K9 units searched the area for Fiddler. At 6:15 p.m. Thursday, the Michigan State Police located Fiddler two miles away from the scene of the fatal shooting in a field at the intersection of Culbert and Osseo Road south in Adams Township.

Fiddler shot at the police who instructed him to surrender, resulting in them returning fire and killing him, the state police said.

The state's police's 1st District is conducting an investigation into the shooting of Butler. MSP's 5th District Special Investigation Section is conducting the investigation into the shooting of Eric Fiddler, according to the agency.

"I am proud to have a great community in which I live in that comes together in times of tragedy," Hillsdale County Sheriff Scott. B. Hodshire said in a statement. "In the weeks and months ahead please keep the Butler family in your prayers."

According to MSP, Butler served with the Hillsdale County Sheriff's Department for 12 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.


©2024 The Detroit News.

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