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Community Support Strong For Officer Michael Sulerud, Butler Police Chief Says

BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) -- It's been three days since a Butler police officer was injured after being stabbed multiple times in a struggle with a man he shot and killed.

On Thursday, Butler City Council approved full disability benefits for Police Officer Michael Sulerud.

Butler Police Chief Bob O'Neill did not talk about the altercation, but told KDKA's Jennifer Borrasso that Sulerud "handled himself perfectly that day."

officer Michael Sulerud
(Photo provided by Butler City Police Department)

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"We are worried about Officer Sulerud, but we are thankful that he is doing better," the chief told KDKA.

Investigators say Sulerud was stabbed multiple times by a man he then shot and killed on Tuesday morning. The officer is still in critical but stable condition.

"I told him that I pray to Saint Michael, who is the patron saint of all warriors, and that I have Mike's back 100 percent," Chief O'Neill said.

According to state police, Butler City Police received a 911 call about a man who was acting erratically and jumping in and out of traffic on the 300 block of West Jefferson Street just before 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Police say Sulerud arrived and immediately encountered the man, identified as 35-year-old John Ebberts. Police say a struggle ensued and Sulerud was stabbed multiple times before he took out his gun, shooting and killing Ebberts. Ebberts' husband told KDKA that he suffered mental health issues.

Chief O'Neill defended Sulerud and his officers.

"It is a very tough job and I am very thankful for all of the officers who do this job," the chief said. "Officers like Sulerud and the officers who were there that day, they handled themselves perfectly."

Those officers, Chief O'Neill and the community are rallying around Sulerud, a Marine Corps veteran who has been with the department for three years. He got married last year.

Chief O'Neill said he and his police officers are making daily trips to the hospital to show their support.

"We are hoping the community continues to come together for Mike," said Sulerud. "I probably have received 1,000 contacts from people."

State police and the district attorney's office are still investigating.

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