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San Diegan Slain in Grenada Is Lauded : Envoy Who Tried to Subdue Gunman ‘Championed Underdog’

Times Staff Writer

San Diego friends of John Angelo Butler, a 33-year-old U.S. diplomat who was killed Wednesday while trying to subdue a Grenada police official, said Friday they were not surprised he died trying to protect others.

Butler was not a macho-hero type of person, but rather someone who was concerned with doing what was right, according to Johnathan Yim, who had known him since 1978.

“He had a great deal of moral courage, and he must have felt it was the right thing to do,” Yim said.

Butler received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of San Diego in 1978 and a master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University in 1979. He had been working as a political officer in the U.S. Embassy in St. George’s, the capital of Grenada, since 1988.

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Attending Meeting

He was attending an administrative meeting at the city’s police headquarters when Grafton Bascombe stormed into the meeting and wounded two people in the room. According to witnesses, Butler then made an attempt to subdue Bascombe, who shot him point-blank before fleeing the room.

Kevin Courran, who was Butler’s college roommate, said he was not surprised that Butler had tried to subdue the gunman because he was always “championing the underdog.”

In all the political science classes they had together, Butler showed concern with the problems of Third World countries.

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