Butler is pictured with his wife Holly and their son, Thomas Jefferson Butler V. (Source: Facebook)
PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A controversial group known for traveling across America picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers will be rallying together following the death of a local man who was recently killed in action in Afghanistan.
Butler, a Pender County native who was known by many as TJ, had only been in Afghanistan for a little more than two weeks when he was killed by a suicide bomber. Along with Butler, two other NC National Guard members were also killed.
The WBC's website reads the following, before proceeding to list the group of soldiers's funerals that will be picketed, including Butler's: "Thank God for 18 more dead troops. We are praying for 18,000 more. We will picket their funerals in their home towns in respectful and lawful proximity thereto."
Butler's funeral will be held at Andrew's Mortuary in Hampstead, but it has not yet been scheduled.
Some are organizing what they're calling a "Human Wall for our Fallen Hero" to counter the funeral picket, in which they hope that local church members and veterans will block the protest.
The WBC links the deaths of soldiers to what they call America's growing acceptance of gays.
However, a law signed by President Obama in August puts restrictions on protests of service member funerals so that the protestors have to stay at least 300 feet from military funerals, and they're prohibited from protesting two hours before or after a service.
Butler was 25. He leaves behind his wife and their 6-month-old baby.
Butler went through the Pender County School system and graduated from Topsail High before going into the military. He graduated from Topsail High in 2006.
Despite the group's name, the WBC is not affiliated with or recognized as a Baptist church by other Baptist groups and conventions.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 7:14 PM EDT2013-06-19 23:14:01 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The brand new multimillion-dollar terminal at Myrtle Beach International (MYR) is up and running. Now the big focus is what the future holds for the old terminal building. OnMore >>
The brand new multimillion-dollar terminal at Myrtle Beach International (MYR) is up and running. Now the big focus is what the future holds for the old terminal building.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 7:11 PM EDT2013-06-19 23:11:09 GMT
A K-9 with the Hanahan Police Department died after a training session on Tuesday night.More >>
The Hanahan Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their own. The force's only K-9, named Shadow, died suddenly after a training session late Tuesday night. A week before the service dog's death, veterinarians gave the K-9 a clean bill of health at a yearly checkup.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:08 PM EDT2013-06-19 22:08:42 GMT
LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) - A woman was found dead in the Little River area Wednesday afternoon after reports that she may have been shot, according to Horry County Police. HCPD spokesman Sgt. Robert KeglerMore >>
A woman was found dead in the Little River area Wednesday afternoon after reports that she may have been shot, according to Horry County Police.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:59 PM EDT2013-06-19 21:59:56 GMT
Aynor (WMBF) - Its been more than a decade since the building in the Cool Springs Business Park in Aynor has had a tenant but that will soon change. According to the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic DevelopmentMore >>
Its been more than a decade since the Cool Springs Business Park in Aynor has had a tenant, but that will soon change. More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:32 PM EDT2013-06-19 21:32:54 GMT
FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - A change to the South Carolina state fire code will go in effect next month, aimed at saving more lives. On July 1, newly constructed houses and hotels that have gas-poweredMore >>
A change to the South Carolina state fire code will go in effect next month, aimed at saving more lives.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:31 PM EDT2013-06-19 21:31:42 GMT
LAURINBURG, NC (WMBF) - A young child has died after being struck by a car in Laurinburg. Laurinburg Police spokesman Lt. Cliff Sessoms says the crash occurred at the intersection of Plant Road and ReaMore >>
A young child has died after being struck by a car in Laurinburg.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:25 PM EDT2013-06-19 21:25:59 GMT
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A fatal collision occurred on Forestbrook Rd. in Horry County on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., according to South Carolina Highway Patrol Senior Trooper Bridget Wyant. Senior TrooperMore >>
A team of investigators is working to piece together the details in the crash that sent a woman to the hospital and brought felony DUI charges against a Myrtle Beach man. More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 4:00 PM EDT2013-06-19 20:00:11 GMT
AYNOR, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Police are assisting Aynor Police officers in a vehicle pursuit in the area of Pee Dee Highway Wednesday afternoon. Horry County Police spokesman Sgt. Robert Kegler confirmsMore >>
Horry County Police assisted Aynor Police officers in a vehicle pursuit in the area of Pee Dee Highway Wednesday afternoon. More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 3:47 PM EDT2013-06-19 19:47:40 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A few isolated showers are keeping us a little damp Wednesday morning, says WMBF News Meteorologist Marla Branson. We'll have scattered showers off and on throughout the dayMore >>
A few isolated showers are keeping us a little damp Wednesday morning, says WMBF News Meteorologist Marla Branson.More >>