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Hero Down: Kalamazoo County Deputy Ryan Proxmire Murdered During Pursuit

Galesburg, MI – Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Proxmire died on Sunday after he was shot by a suspect during a high-speed chase on Saturday night.

The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office said the incident began when deputies encountered the suspect at a gas station in Galesburg, WLNS reported.

The suspect was reportedly involved in a chase earlier in the day with another law enforcement agency from a neighboring jurisdiction.

Authorities said the suspect pointed a gun at deputies at the gas station and then got into his vehicle and fled, WLNS reported.

He opened fire on the deputies pursuing him during the chase and shot Deputy Proxmire, which caused his patrol vehicle to go off the road near MN Avenue and 38th Street in Charleston Township, south of Galesburg.

Sheriff’s department officials said that the suspect later lost control of his vehicle and drove into a field in Climax Township, WWMT reported.

Officials said the suspect got out of his vehicle and started shooting at them.

Deputies returned fire and fatally shot the suspect, WLNS reported.

The gunman died at the scene.

A passerby saw Deputy Proxmire’s vehicle in the field and stopped to help him, WOOD reported.

The good Samaritan called 911 for help.

Deputy Proxmire was transported to Bronson Methodist Hospital in “extremely critical condition” and succumbed to his wounds on Sunday, WOOD reported.

Authorities have not yet released the name of the gunman who killed him, WLNS reported.

The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Proxmire had been assigned to road patrol but had previously served in Jail Division, “even filling in as a temporary Sergeant when needed.”

Deputy Proxmire was a Field Training officer, a Taser instructor, and a subject control/defensive tactics instructor, WLNS reported.

A ceremony was held on Sunday evening to honor the fallen hero, organized by Joey Bird, the owner of a tow truck company who had worked with Deputy Proxmire at a number of emergency scenes, WWMT reported.

“It’s pretty amazing. I’m so glad that we got enough people,” Bird said. “There’s more people that are on the way. My phone is going crazy right now.”

A massive number of first responder vehicles and tow trucks lined the roadway and all turned on their emergency lights on at 9 p.m. on Aug. 15, WWMT reported.

Those who knew Deputy Proxmire reminisced about him at the memorial.

“He was a very funny guy,” Bird told WWMT. “I talked to a lot of my deputy friends that are close to him, and they said he was a very loving, caring guy. Thank you for your service and, I don’t know, Godspeed. We will definitely miss you, that’s for sure.”

Deputy Proxmire graduated from Three Rivers High School in 1999, where he was a member of the football team, WWMT reported.

“Amongst you tonight, you have volunteers, you have emergency responders, you have retirees from not just the sheriff’s office,” Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller told the crowd assembled on Sunday night. “It’s a team that gets families through these things. It’s a team that gets the community through these things. And it’s a team that we have to rely on.”

Michigan State Police are investigating the deputy-involved shooting, WOOD reported.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Proxmire, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Deputy Ryan Proxmire, your life mattered.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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