SANTA CRUZ, Calif.—Two Santa Cruz police officers were shot and killed Tuesday by a suspect who died in a nearby shootout with officers a half-hour later.
The deaths of detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker, a 28-year veteran, and detective Elizabeth Butler, a 10-year veteran, are the first in the line of duty in the city’s history. Authorities said they were found deceased outside suspect Jeremy Goulet’s home in the 800 block of Branciforte shortly after the 3:30 p.m. shooting.
"This is the darkest day in the history of the Santa Cruz Police Department," Police Chief Kevin Vogel said, adding earlier, "We lost two exceptionally fine officers today.
" Vogel, who was once partnered with Baker, said "Our department is in mourning; this is a horrific day.
" Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said Goulet, 35, was shot and killed on Doyle Street after firing at officers who were conducting a search of the area. His agency will assume control of the investigation as outlined in the Police Department’s critical incident protocol, with the cooperation of the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office.
Authorities said they do not believe there are any other suspects but as a precaution deputies searched houses and placed three schools on lockdown.
"Tonight we are heartbroken at the loss of two of our finest police officers who were killed in the line of duty, protecting the community we love," Mayor Hilary Bryant said. "This is an exceptionally shocking and sad day for Santa Cruz and our Police Department. We offer our deepest sympathy and prayers to the families and the fellow officers of our fallen heroes.
" The shooting comes after several weeks of unrest in Santa Cruz, including a downtown murder, the Westside shooting of a UC Santa Cruz student and the rape of another woman on campus. There also was a violent robbery at a Westside grocery store and a home-invasion robbery on the Eastside.
The incident started when Santa Cruz police were conducting an investigation, possibly a domestic violence situation stemming from Goulet’s Friday arrest, at a house on the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue, just up the street from where the shooting happened. He was arrested there for drunken disorderly but bailed out.
Wowak said they believe Goulet shot at the officers, who were found dead outside the house.
"We don’t know exactly what transpired in that investigation to start but we do know in the contact with the suspect, Jeremy Goulet, 35, a resident at the scene, both detectives were killed."
Wowak said the call for assistance went out in numerous ways "both from the officers and neighbors who heard gunfire."
Goulet was not on scene when officers arrived. Although officers attempted life-saving efforts on their colleagues, they were unsuccessful, Wowak said.
Police then set up a perimeter and a multi-agency team worked to secure the North Branciforte area, including three schools, and to find Goulet.
During the "active shooter scenario" police and deputies encountered Goulet on nearby Doyle Street about 30 minutes later and a barrage of gunfire followed.
"Gunshots ensued between Goulet and the officers. Goulet was killed at the scene," Wowak said.