SANTA CRUZ (CBS/AP) — The father of the suspect in the shooting of two Santa Cruz police officers said his son was a ticking time bomb who had contempt for police and the justice system.
Ronald Goulet told The Associated Press that his 35-year-old son, Jeremy Goulet, had numerous run-ins with the law previously and swore he would never go back to jail.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said Wednesday that body armor and guns were found on 35-year-old Jeremy Goulet after he was shot and killed by authorities.
Jeremy Goulet is accused of shooting Sgt. Loran Butch Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler during an altercation at the home of the coffee shop worker, according to police and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office.
They were shot while following up on allegations Goulet made inappropriate sexual advances on a co-worker at her home, authorities said. Goulet was arrested Friday and was fired the next day, The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.
The elder Goulet told the San Francisco Chronicle late Tuesday his son had texted his twin brother in the afternoon to say he was in trouble.
“Why was he on the run? I’m just trying to hang with it, to make sense of it,” he said.
In May 2008, Jeremy Goulet was convicted in Portland, Ore., of peeping on a 22-year-old woman who was showering in her condominium and of carrying concealed weapon, according to a Portland newspaper, The Oregonian. Goulet was on probation but was sentenced to two years in jail after a dispute with his probation officer.
Baker, a 28-year veteran of the force, and Butler, a 10-year veteran, had gone to the house where Goulet was living to follow up on the case, authorities said. They were subsequently fired upon and called for backup, and responding officers found Goulet, who shot at police and was killed in the gunfire that followed, authorities said.
The community of Santa Cruz Wednesday was reeling from the deaths of the two veteran police officers
Santa Cruz Residents Tired Of Violence That Has Plagued City
“It’s been devastating, Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said at a news conference outside police headquarters Wednesday morning. “There’s absolutely no words for me to adequately stand here before you and describe what my department’s been going through since yesterday afternoon.”
Baker and Butler were dressed in plain clothes. Shortly after they arrived, Goulet shot them both at his doorstep, Wowak said. When the officers went to Goulet’s home, they had no indication he was potentially violent, the sheriff said.
“There should be no suspicion of second-guessing as to how they wound up where they were,” Wowak said. “They were just doing their job.”
After the shooting, officers swarmed the neighborhood, set up a perimeter and began a house-to-house search for Goulet while emergency responders tried to save Baker and Butler.
During the search, officers located Goulet, who opened fire on them, leading to a shootout on Doyle Road that left Goulet dead, Wowak said.
Santa Cruz police officers have all been given the day off Wednesday, and the city was being patrolled by the sheriff’s office and the California Highway Patrol, Vogel said.
The police chief assured residents that the community is safe, and that there are as many officers on patrol Wednesday as there were Tuesday.
“You’re just going to notice that they’re wearing a different uniform,” Vogel said.
Wednesday morning, mourners had left bouquets of roses, lilies and other flowers in a makeshift memorial in front of the Santa Cruz Police Department at 155 Center St.
An American flag had been placed there, and messages were handwritten on pieces of paper, including “Thank you for risking your lives for the greater good” and “SCPD thank you. Sorry for your losses.”
Sharon Garner, 66, of Santa Cruz, stopped by Wednesday morning to pay tribute to the fallen officers.
Garner said she knew Baker because he had arrested her numerous times for various crimes.
“He was always kind to me,” she said. “Whenever I was placed in handcuffs, he was always very kind.”
She said she suffers from mental health issues and has spent time in supportive housing. “He believed in me,” Garner said.
Santa Cruz resident R.J. Piper, 25, said he services the Police Department’s vending machines. He said he believes the city, which has seen a wave of violent crimes even before Tuesday’s shootings, has an understaffed police force.
“The crime rate is definitely high,” he said. “There are not enough cops. They work very hard.”
Baker, a 28-year veteran of the force, leaves behind his wife, two daughters and a son who now works with Santa Cruz police as a community service officer.
Butler was a 10-year veteran assigned to investigations and leaves behind her husband Peter and two young sons, ages 5 and 1, Vogel said.
The shootings prompted the lockdown of two schools and an automatic police call to nearby residents, warning them to stay locked inside. The ordinarily quiet residential neighborhood echoed with a brief barrage of gunfire that killed the suspect about a half hour after the officers were shot.
A store clerk a few buildings from the shooting said the shootout was “terrifying.”
“We ducked. We have big desks so under the desks we went,” said the clerk, who spoke on condition of anonymity and asked that her store not be identified because she feared for her safety.
The city’s mayor, Hilary Bryant, said in a statement that the community about 60 miles south of San Francisco was “heartbroken at the loss of two of our finest police officers who were killed in the line of duty, protecting the community we love.”
“This is an exceptionally shocking and sad day for Santa Cruz and our police department,” Bryant said.
The shootings came amid a recent spike in assaults, which community leaders had planned to address in a downtown rally scheduled for Tuesday. That, along with a City Council meeting, was canceled after teary-eyed city leaders learned of the deaths.
The recent violence included the killing of a 32-year-old martial arts instructor who was shot outside a popular downtown bar and restaurant; the robbery of a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was shot in the head; a 21-year-old woman who was raped and beaten on the UC campus; and a couple who fought off two men during a home invasion.
Wowak asked anyone with information on Goulet or Tuesday’s shootings to contact the sheriff’s office, which is investigating the case.
Members of the public can submit information via email through a link that will be set up on the sheriff’s website at http://www.scsheriff.com or by phone during normal business hours at (831) 454-2311.
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