6 years later and still no justice for Rainier police chief killed in line of duty
Six years have passed since Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter died in the line of duty, and the man accused of killing him has yet to be sentenced.
Chief Painter was shot and killed by then-23-year-old Daniel Butts with his own gun. Butts' trial is on hold as he undergoes a mental evaluation, leaving the Rainier community without closure.
“I know he’s still here," Eric Bunday who worked as an officer under Chief Painter said. "I know every time I get on the radio and say '1309 send me another unit,' in the back of my mind I hear, '900 I’m en route.' Because I know he’s there and he’s been there every day with me for the last six years."
Chief Painter's wife has lived all these years without the love of her life.
“Within a matter of minutes it was confirmed and since then... it’s just been a nightmare,” Amy Painter said. “[He was] a kind-hearted, giving person, he never met a stranger. I guess I was a little naive to it and I’m glad I didn’t dwell. I thought, small town, chief of police, I felt that wouldn’t happen but then my world got turned upside down."
Amy Painter and Bunday have struck up a close friendship since that fateful day.
“I hate how we got it, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Bunday said.
Together, they sit hand-in-hand waiting for justice.
“I have faith in that system that justice will prevail, it’s just taking longer than anyone wanted,” Bunday said.
“As far as I’m concerned, no matter what happens to him, it doesn’t change what happened to Ralph and what we lost. Is an eye for an eye justice?” Amy asked.
Thursday marks the 6th anniversary of Chief Painter's death. Amy plans on holding a digital vigil where folks can post pictures of blue lights, ribbons and candles online using #ChiefPainter.