WEST JORDAN, Utah — A Utah couple was gunned down at their home over the weekend in an apparent home invasion, which took place as their three children, ages 4 years to 6 months, slept inside, authorities said.
Tony Butterfield, 31, and his wife, Katherine Butterfield, 30, were found dead by West Jordan police officers after a neighbor called 911 around 1:15 a.m. Saturday to report hearing gunshots and a woman screaming, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Responding officers found Tony Butterfield dead in the backyard of the home, officials said.
“It appeared that he had at least one gunshot wound,” Sgt. J.C. Holt, a West Jordan Police Department spokesman, told KSL in Salt Lake City.
Authorities said Katherine Butterfield was found shot to death inside the house. According to the news station, a door appeared to have been kicked in.
“We do believe that there was some type of altercation between the suspect and one of those two homicide victims,” Holt told KSL.
Investigators believe Tony Butterfield may have injured the intruder with a knife in the backyard, the Tribune reported.
West Jordan police officials said Sunday that progress was being made in the investigation.
“We aren’t in position to comment specifically in the case as this time,” authorities said in a statement on Twitter. “We want to maintain the integrity of the investigation. We hope to have some positive news soon.”
The couple’s family issued a statement through police Saturday night, in which they thanked the community for its outpouring of love and support.
“Tony and Katherine were incredible Christ-like, kind, happy, and loving parents, children, siblings and friends,” the statement said. “We mourn their loss, but are grateful for the sure knowledge we have that we will be with them again.”
The family said it holds “no ill-will towards the perpetrator(s) and pray for them and their families.”
“We ask for prayers for Tony and Katherine’s three sweet children, as well as for the many, many people who love Tony and Katherine,” the statement said. “We are appreciative and overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support we have received. Thank you.”
A GoFundMe page set up for the children, who are staying with family members, had raised more than $153,000 in one day, as of Monday morning.
The fundraising page stated that the couple, both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dated for several years and went on mission trips with the church before marrying in 2013.
“Tony and Katherine were hard workers and started their own landscaping company from the ground up,” the page read. “They worked together in managing and growing their business and enjoyed working alongside one another to provide for their family.”
Tony Butterfield was founder and president of Electric Blue Yard Service. Katherine Butterfield was the office manager.
Katherine Butterfield was described as a loving mother and a “ray of sunshine with a vibrant smile and a beautiful singing voice” who was the first to help those around her in any situation.
“Even during this global pandemic, she had written personal letters to everyone in her family expressing her love for each of them,” the GoFundMe page read.
Tony Butterfield was described as a talented craftsman who “always (had) a project up his sleeve.”
“He enjoyed doing renovations on his own home, building tree swings, and sand boxes for his kids,” the page read. “When he wasn’t hard at work, he loved spending time with his family, either snowboarding, fishing, camping or doing a backyard bonfire. Tony was always ready with a witty remark that kept everyone laughing.”
Travis Osborne, a longtime friend of the couple, choked up as he spoke to Fox13 in Salt Lake City. He said he first learned of the double homicide around 4 a.m. Saturday from his brother, who lives next door to the Butterfield home.
“I thought he was playing some sort of a joke or something. I didn’t believe him,” Osborne said.
Family and friends mourned the couple on social media. Ryan Dearing described himself as a neighbor of the Butterfields and their children, as well as a customer of their yard service.
“I just can’t even believe this. There are no words,” Dearing said on Facebook. “Tony and Katherine are the most Christ-like, bright, shining, happy, giving people that I know. I say ‘are’ because I know they are not really gone.
“I pray for those beautiful children and lament the fact they have to grow up without their parents. I hope the perpetrator is found quickly and that justice is swift.”
Cox Media Group