Troopers describe how they apprehended the Knyszs

February 20, 2014
Thomas Holcomb, a Michigan State Police evidence technician holds up the .357 Smith & Wesson handgun that was retrieved from Eric Knysz at the Dublin Store in Manistee County on the evening of Sept. 9, 2013, hours after Trooper Paul Butterfield was fatally shot.

Thomas Holcomb, a Michigan State Police evidence technician holds up the .357 handgun that was retrieved from Eric Knysz at the Dublin Store in Manistee County on the evening of Sept. 9, 2013, hours after Trooper Paul Butterfield was fatally shot.

By Lisa Enos. MCP Correspondent. 

LUDINGTON — The Michigan State Police troopers who shot and arrested murder suspect Eric Knysz testified Thursday afternoon in 51st Circuit Court. Knysz, 20, of Irons is suspected of killing MSP Trooper Paul Butterfield.

Trooper Crofoot describes apprehending Eric Knysz.

Trooper Crofoot describes apprehending Eric Knysz.

Day two testimony of the first degree murder trial of Eric Knysz, accused of killing Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield last September, was a bit drier.

Most of the witnesses called to the stand were law enforcement officials involved in apprehending Knysz where he was eventually found at a gas station in Dublin near Wellston in Manistee County; Trooper Butterfield served in Manistee County for several years before being transferred to the Hart post. More than one of the law enforcement officials claimed that they volunteered to work that day when they heard there was an officer down.

Wes Smith, who is currently employed at the Michigan State Police computer crimes lab in Traverse City, was one such person. He had served with Butterfield at the Manistee post for several years.

“I normally worked day shift. I live in southeastern Manistee County and had been advised that a trooper had been shot in Mason County,” Smith said.

 

Trooper Arendt talks about arrested Knysz.

Trooper Arendt talks about arrested Knysz.

Smith set out on rolling patrol in plain clothes in a blue unmarked Chevrolet Impala, looking for the two vehicles associated with Eric Kynsz.

“I was made aware on the radio traffic that they had gone to Mack Road, I was on the way back to Irons to when (Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy) Arendts came on the radio and I proceeded to go to Dublin store.”

The Knysz family owns several acres of land near North Mack Road and West Eight Mile Road near Irons in Lake County. Eight Mile Road becomes Free Soil Road in Mason County.

MSP Cadillac Trooper Crofoot testified that he saw a car that matched the description of the white Pontiac Grand Prix Kynsz was thought to be driving. He did a U-turn and pulled into the Marathon gas station in the unchartered village of Dublin and saw a man who matched Kynsz’s description.

“The white male in the blue shirt looked at me, turned around and put the (gas nozzle) back,” Crofoot said. “I beeped the horn to get the white male’s attention. I blew the horn loud enough that a normal person would have turned around. I got no response.”  Kynsz went inside the store and got in line to pay. He then headed out the back door. Kynsz then tried to hide behind the ice machine outside.

The .357 Smith & Wesson that Knysz had with him.

The .357 handgun that Knysz had with him.

Trooper Steve Arendt described how he fired three rounds at Kynsz. He said Kynsz failed to drop his weapon. Arendts knew Kynsz had a gun and had been suspected of shooting Butterfield. Kynsz was struck in the leg at which time he dropped his weapon and Crofoot struggled to get cuffs on him.

Meanwhile, Trooper Wes Smith pulled up.

“I arrived on scene saw a trooper on the ground with a subject. I approached Trooper Crofoot at the time and covered the suspect. Trooper Crofoot said, ‘get the gun, get the gun, get the gun!” said Smith.

“I didn’t see the gun at that time. The trooper (Crofoot) rolled him over and with my right foot I moved the gun behind me for safe keeping,” said Smith, careful not to touch the gun.

Arendts then apprehended Sarah Kynsz who was also at the scene and put her in a patrol car.

Smith then went in the ambulance with Eric Knysz, spent an hour with him. He accompanied Kynsz to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, where he was asked to identify Trooper Butterfield, his long time colleague who lay bandaged and it critical condition.

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