WATCH: Funeral for Lt. Boutte features full honors with 21-gun salute, end of watch call
A full military service was held for Lt. Mike Boutte, the Hancock County deputy killed in the line of duty on Feb. 1.
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - Family, friends, and law enforcement officers across South Mississippi are saying farewell today to Lt. Michael Boutte.
Hundreds gathered in Bay St. Louis Tuesday for the funeral service, including dignitaries like Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, as well as officers and leadership from several law enforcement agencies across South Mississippi.
Dozens of officers also made the trip to the Coast to honor Lt. Boutte, including representatives from the Grand Rapids Police Department in South Dakota where Boutte first began his civilian career in law enforcement.
The service began with a Bible reading from Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, who buried one of his own officers less than two years ago.
Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam then delivered a heartfelt eulogy that left many wiping tears from their eyes.
“Mike has already written his own eulogy. He has been writing it throughout his entire career with the actions he took every single day,” said the sheriff.
The sheriff recalled the day Boutte came in to interview, saying he expected to see a hardened officer that day based on Boutte’s impressive resume. But when he met the future lieutenant, Adam said he was surprised to see the warm smile that greeted him instead.
It was that smile that continued to influence the lives of so many during his time as a law enforcement officer.
“On Feb, 1, 2021, Lt. Michael Boutte did what he had done over his two decade career,” said Adam, choking back his emotions. “He was courageous, acted in a selfless manner, putting the well being of others above his own…. We lost a wonderful man, a great leader, a friend and, most of all, a hero.”
The sheriff continued, talking about Lt. Boutte’s sense of community and his willingness to always go above and beyond to help people, reaching out to anyone in need to offer support and assistance. That attitude and calling to serve also extended to those he served with.
“Mike was truly courageous. He was a warrior and a fighter until the very moment God called him home... There was no deputy that Mike would not take under his wings to guide, teach and love,” said Sheriff Adam. “Mike was truly the most well-rounded law enforcement officer you could ask for. If I had 113 more (deputies) just like him, I wouldn’t have to ask the Lord for nothing. He was a role model for all of us.”
As the department moves forward, the sheriff said he will continue to carry the positive attitude that Mike did as a way to honor the fallen deputy.
“To Mike, we say, well done. Rest in peace and know that the fine men and women of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office has your watch from here,” said the sheriff.
Special Agent Benjamin Taylor with the Department of Homeland Security also spoke, echoing the feelings of so many who filled the community center for the funeral.
“Yes, we’re hurt, we’re wounded deeply. Some are confused, some are angry. Some are filled with so much anger at such a cowardly and senseless act that took someone so special. Some are angry with God,” said Special Agent Taylor.
He continued, talking about how Lt. Boutte knew he had a purpose on this earth and lived each day to fulfill it.
“Mike wasn’t afraid of dying... Mike knew he had to move with a purpose. And Mike had a purpose... Mike knew the difference between his what and his why. His ‘what’ was serving communities as a law enforcement officer. His ‘why’ was to minister to those who needed it through his everyday walk,” said Taylor.
Ending his eulogy, Special Agent Taylor summed up the thoughts of everyone in the room. “Lt. Michael Boutte Sr. was a great cop and this world has lost one exceptional human being.”
After the funeral service, hundreds gathered outside, where Lt. Boutte’s casket was rolled out with honors. Loud booms sounded as a 21-gun salute rang out in the clear, blue sky. Then, a lone bugler played taps and the haunting sound of bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” drifted through the crowd.
The flag that draped Lt. Boutte’s casket was then folded as the deputy’s family stood watching, his son Michael Boutte Jr. dressed in his Air Force blues. With a salute, the flag was then handed to Gov. Reeves, who presented it to Lt. Boutte’s daughter Jessica, pausing to hug her, the deputy’s wife Jennifer, and Michael Jr.
A heart wrenching moment at any funeral for a first responder, the End of Watch call then rang out through the clear day.
“Central dispatch to Hancock 53.... Please respond. Attention all units, be advised, central dispatch has lost contact with Hancock 53... Be advised, Lt. Michael Boutte Sr. is 10-7 from roll call. All units, all stations, we will observe a moment of radio silence to honor our fallen comrade, Lt. Michael Boutte Sr., for this is his last call. May he never be forgotten.”
Lt. Boutte’s flag-draped casket was then carried out by his son Michael Jr. and deputies with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, and loaded into the hearse.
The funeral procession then left downtown Bay St. Louis, making the 26-mile trip down Highway 90 to the Biloxi National Cemetery. Along the way, fire trucks in each Coast city raised a flag over the highway, honoring the fallen deputy.
Lt. Michael Anthony Boutte Sr. was killed in the line of duty on Feb. 1, 2021, while answering a call in the Necaise community. The 57-year-old Hancock County Sheriff’s deputy was a resident of Carriere.
“Michael was a selfless, compassionate, caring individual who devoted his life to the service of others. Throughout his law enforcement career, Michael was devoted to justice and equity. Remembered for the smile he always had, Michael set out every day to make someone else’s day a little better and to make the world a better place,” reads his obituary.
Michael Boutte spent more than 20 years collectively in law enforcement during his civilian and military life. A graduate of John McDonough High School in New Orleans, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1981.
Out of basic training, Michael was first assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. It’s a base that his son, Michael Jr., would also be assigned at as his first duty station after he joined the military.
During his service, Mike Sr. was deployed during Operation Desert Storm. After his service in the USAF, he attended the South Dakota Law Enforcement Training Center in 1992, beginning his law enforcement career in Grand Rapids. In 1996, he attended the Washington State Criminal Justice Center and became a founding member of the City of Federal Way Department of Public Safety in Washington state.
Michael relocated to Mississippi in 2012, where he went to work at the Picayune Police Department. In 2016, Michael joined the ranks of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant.
Michael was preceded in death by his mother, Alma Andrews of Picayune. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer; his children, Jessica Boutte and her children Madison, Roscoe and Elionora of Charleson, South Carolina; and Michael Boutte Jr., his wife Brittany and their children Michael III, Makensie, Aryah and Barrett of Goldsboro, North Carolina; his father, James Boutte of Picayune; his step-daughter Alexis Russell; his step-granddaughter, Mikayla Patterson; his father in law Ron Kidner; and his brothers and sisters David & Wendy Boutte, Mark Andrews, Anita Camp and Anitra Newton.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that donations be made in Michael’s name to any branch of Hancock Whitney Bank, to be distributed to charities in Michael’s name.
If you’d like to sign the online guestbook or share a message or memory with the family, you can do so at the Lockett Williams Mortuary website: https://www.lockettwilliams.com/obituary/michael-boutte
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