SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Two Santa Cruz police officers were shot and killed Tuesday afternoon while investigating a sexual assault, while their suspected shooter died in an exchange of gunfire with police a short time later, authorities and witnesses said.
“The (Santa Cruz Police) Department is in mourning. We lost two exceptionally fine officers today. It’s a horrible, horrible day,” Police Chief Kevin Vogel told KPIX 5 and KCBS All News 740 AM & FM 106.9 near the scene of the shootings.
The deaths of Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler, marked the first time officers had been killed in the line of duty in the SCPD’s history. Baker, a married father of two daughters, was a 28-year veteran of the department; Butler was a 10-year veteran of the department and leaves behind two young sons.
The deceased suspect was identified by authorities as 35-year-old city resident Jeremy Goulet. While local investigators said they were not immediately aware of any prior criminal history involving Goulet, records obtained by KPIX from the state of Oregon showed Goulet had prior felony arrests in Portland.
Goulet is said to have opened fire and fatally shot the two plainclothes detectives outside his house in the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue around 3:30 p.m. as they were investigating a sexual assault. The suspected cop shooter was shot and killed a short time later in a gunfight that broke out nearby in the 100 block of Doyle Drive with police who were in pursuit of him.
Witnesses described hearing a “multitude of gunfire” – with 20 or more shots fired during that gun battle between the suspect and law enforcement.