KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Even to those who didn’t know him, Deputy Ryan Proxmire was a hero.
From his home in Wisconsin, Nate Carroll heard about the deputy’s death on Sunday and did what he typically does when he hears an officer has fallen in the line of duty: he posted a video on his YouTube Page.
In his videos, Carroll, who doesn’t know the fallen officers personally but has two sisters in Wisconsin law enforcement, plays his guitar – taps, for Deputy Proxmire.
“If they give their life in service to us, we have a responsibility to honor their service,” he told FOX17 on a Zoom call Monday. “Really it doesn’t matter if it’s in Wisconsin or Michigan or some other place, that officer impacts us all.”
Closer to home, Deputy Proxmire made an impact on his colleagues in Kalamazoo law enforcement.
“This happened in our community, in our zip code,” said Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Vernon Coakley. “We’re grieving right now. Our brother is no longer with us.”
Deputy Proxmire died Sunday night. He and a group of deputies responded to the Shell Gas Station in Galesburg Saturday night. The deputies were attempting to take a suspect from an earlier pursuit into custody. When the deputies approached, that suspect pulled out a gun and pointed it at them. The suspect was able to drive off, leading them on a chase south.
Just a few minutes into the pursuit, the suspect opened fire at the deputies, shooting Deputy Proxmire near the intersection of MN Avenue and 38th Street in Climax Township.
“Ryan J. Proxmire, deputy sheriff, a man who responded to trouble so others would not have to. He did so with dignity, honor and respect,” said Kalamazoo Sheriff Richard Fuller said. “Tragically his life was cut short this past weekend by the wicked actions of a criminal.”
Plans for a funeral haven’t been announced yet, but Sheriff Fuller said they would be announced in the coming days.
Deputy Proxmire was married and a father. He also previously worked in the corrections department before his service in road patrol. He was a field training officer, Taser instructor, and subject control/defensive tactics instructor.
“These police officers are willing to put their lives in between us and danger to keep perfect strangers safe,” said Carroll. “The work that these officers do, it doesn’t just impact their community. It impacts all of us.”