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Butte honors memory of former sheriff who survived car bomb explosion

Posted at 9:15 AM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 11:15:11-04

BUTTE — Butte law enforcement is honoring the memory of former Sheriff Bob Butorovich, who died this week.

Butorovich became known around the world in a widely circulated video as the man who survived a car bombing in Butte more than 30 years ago.

It was on Dec. 20, 1989, when Terry Rossland rigged his car with explosives and had a standoff with police at the intersection of Montana and Broadway. Officers remember Butorovich’s bravery that day.

“You know, he went up to that vehicle thinking he could solve the problem and the male inside the vehicle exploded the car. He was right on the front line of that,” said Butte Undersheriff George Skuletich.

Former police officer Dan Hollis was with Butorovich the day he was blown up and remembers how he kept his composure.

“His clothes were on fire and he was trying to get his jacket off, but he was still trying to get Terry under control at that point, but he didn’t know where Terry was at that point because he was a little disoriented also because of the explosion,” said Hollis.

Amazingly, Butorovich wasn’t seriously injured.

“He went to the hospital, got checked out, and went back on duty. He never took a day off or anything like that; he was just, again, dedicated to the citizens of Butte,” said Skuletich.

The incident involving Sheriff Butorovich is still studied by law enforcement today and has changed their tactics.

“We did an after-action report to review our actions to see where things could be improved and what other protocols we could put in place because of this incident,” said Hollis.

Officers who knew him won’t forget his legacy.

“He was just a sheriff that cared about people. A nice guy, a great big monster of a guy if you ever met him, but in his heart he had the people of Butte first,” said Skuletich.

Butorovich was 87.