Lowndes Deputy Chris Butler laid to rest

| March 3, 2017

VALDOSTA – Family, friends and law enforcement from across Georgia paid their final respects to Lowndes County Deputy Michael Butler Thursday.

Deputy Butler was killed in the line of duty. He was on his was to a domestic call, with lights and sirens on, when a semi pulled out in front of him. Butler crashed with that semi head-on.

Thursday, the community and local law enforcement pouring out love to the Butler family. It’s a love spanning generations.

“Everybody asks, ‘when’s that deputy’s funeral’ and, ‘were you there?'” Sergeant Matt Bannister says the night of the crash that killed Butler, is a night he will never forget.

“You always have in the back of your mind that there’s a possibility,” Bannister says. Then takes a long pause, holding back tears.

Bannister says this day, makes him remember Butler’s father, a Commander for the Valdosta Police Department. The day of Commander Butlers funeral, Bannister was taking calls for the city.

Before the funeral service, 15 Valdosta Police Department officers were deputized to cover the county to allow Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office deputies to attend the service.

“When Commander Butler passed away, we covered calls in the city,” says Bannister. “So, now the city is paying this shift back, and it’s [for] Commander Butler’s son.”

Lieutenant Earl Durrance worked with Butler’s father for more than 20 years.

“I think people are born to be a police officer or they’re not,” says Durrance. “[It’s] just something that called to him his whole life.”

The City and County, joining forces to honor Butler’s memory.

“We need it, and we will continue to need it,” says Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk. “We’ll get through this thing and it won’t be easy.”

But they say they’ll get through it together. Never forgetting their fallen hero and friend.

After the funeral, an hour long procession made its way to McLane Riverview Memorial Gardens.

(WCTV Eyewitness News)

Obituary: Chris Butler

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1 Comment on "Lowndes Deputy Chris Butler laid to rest"

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  1. Dain Smith says:

    Thank you Valdosta!