Air Force Veteran Gunned Down In Broad Daylight

 March 7, 2024

In a heart-wrenching incident in West Philadelphia, an Air Force veteran's life was cut short amidst circumstances that have shocked a community to its core.

Richard Butler, age 88, fell victim to a fatal shooting on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, shattering the peace in the area.

The tragedy unfolded around 1:30 pm when Richard Butler, having just left his girlfriend, was ambushed while seated in his vehicle. The assailant approached stealthily, discharging two bullets directly into Butler's chest at perilously close quarters.

In a desperate attempt to escape, the wounded Butler drove away, only to crash his white Hyundai Santa Fe into a sidewalk ornamentation, where the vehicle finally came to a halt.

Emergency services rushed him to Penn Presbyterian Hospital, a mere three miles from the scene. Despite their efforts, he was declared dead at 1:56 pm, leaving a community in mourning and a family grappling with an unfathomable loss.

Butler lived a life marked by service and community

Richard Butler was not only a retired SEPTA driver but also an esteemed veteran of the Air Force. He stood as a stalwart pillar within his community, revered by those who had the fortune to know him.

His love for dance and undeniable devotion to the welfare of local youths painted the picture of a man who truly cared. Through actions like taking neighborhood children on outings to Atlantic City and Wildwood, Butler's legacy is one of kindness and commitment.

The distressing circumstances of Butler's demise were captured by home surveillance, showing a figure loitering in a silver sedan before executing the deadly approach. The suspect remains unidentified, with law enforcement and the community desperate for answers.

Family seeks answers amid sorrow

Reflecting on Butler's character, his great-niece Minette Finn shared touching words, highlighting the deep impact he had on those around him. "Pops. Dad. Uncle. Brother to everyone," she stated. "If you met him, you loved him."

Orlando, Butler's son, echoed the sentiment of loss and confusion over such an inexplicable act against a man renowned for his generosity and peaceful nature.

Minette Finn, expressing the family's anguish and confusion, told 6ABC, "This wasn't a random act. If you get that answer to that question, you guys let us know."

The loss of Richard Butler has undeniably left a void in the community, with friends, family, and neighbors struggling to comprehend the motives behind such a brutal act. The investigation continues, with authorities piecing together the events to deliver justice for a man who served his country and community with unwavering dedication.


The community of West Philadelphia reels from the loss of an esteemed Air Force veteran and community pillar, Richard Butler, following a senseless act of violence. The 88-year-old was ambushed in broad daylight, succumbing to his injuries shortly after.

As a man known for his service, both in the military and his neighborhood, Butler's death leaves behind a legacy marred by tragedy but also marked by the profound positive impact he had on those around him. The quest for answers continues as Butler's family and friends mourn a great loss, hoping for closure and justice in an inexplicable crime.

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