"It’s put a hole in our hearts"; Memorial service held for Sgt. Ryan Proxmire one year after deadly shooting

Sergeant Ryan Proxmire
Posted at 11:32 AM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 22:42:21-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It's been one year since Kalamazoo County Sgt. Ryan Proxmire was shot and killed in the line of duty.

“It’s been a long year,” said Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller. “The family has been through an awful lot [and] this organization has been through an awful lot.”

Fuller added, "It’s put a hole in our hearts. That is felt from every person that has ever interacted with him or not."

A small memorial service for Proxmire was held on Monday followed by a moment of silence. His wife and some of their children were in attendance.

Family, friends remember Sgt. Ryan Proxmire one year after deadly shooting

In a statement released on Monday, Proxmire’s family said his family left an unfillable void in their lives.

It has been a year since we lost our beloved Ryan. A father, husband, son, brother, co-worker and friend to many, leaving a void in our lives that can never be filled. We are so very proud of Ryan’s accomplishments and his commitment to community service. Ryan will be missed but will never be forgotten.

We would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to all the amazing citizens of Kalamazoo County and the surrounding areas for their unselfish support and generosity that has sustained the Proxmire families during this most trying time in our lives. We also would like to acknowledge the incredible support of Sheriff Richard Fuller and all the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office personnel, as well as all the surrounding law enforcement agencies in SW Michigan.

To honor Ryan, we ask that everyone continue to fully support our law enforcement personnel and first responders, who put their lives on the line every day to ensure out safety and freedoms. We’re sure that this is what Ryan would want. God bless America.

Proxmire died after he responded to a gas station on Saturday, August 14 to take a suspect into custody.

When the suspect drove off, Proxmire followed him and was shot during the pursuit.

RELATED: Community members, law enforcement pay respects to Sgt. Ryan Proxmire

He died the next day, August 15, 2021.

“He took charge that night and was leading the way to help solve a problem, end a dangerous person’s mission that night as best way he could and sadly he lost his life in that battle,” said Fuller.

The 39-year-old had served with KCSO for nine years. He had previously worked in the corrections department before his service in road patrol. He was also a field training officer, taser instructor, and subject control/defensive tactics instructor.

Proxmire grew up in southwest Michigan and graduated from Paw Paw High School in 1999.

“After his death, we had several citizens come to us with stories about things he had done, the connection he had made with people, children he had interacted with,” said Fuller. “Those are things we like to believe are happening in our world as police officers and sheriff’s deputies and it’s true, it was happening all the time.”

Proxmire’s family is in the process of setting up a scholarship that will help people pay for their police academy tuition according to Fuller.

A section of U.S. 131 was recently named after Proxmire. U.S. 131 between West U Avenue and mile marker 35 north of I-94 is now named Sergeant Ryan J. Proxmire Memorial Highway.

Fuller hopes that as the community begins to move forward people do more than remember Proxmire’s legacy. He wants people to act like him too, saying that’s the ultimate way to honor his sacrifice.

“This organization will move on, the community will move on, but never forget, never forget the sacrifice our friend and our hero gave to this community, to this organization, and to protect others,” said Fuller.

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