2 Santa Cruz, Calif., officers shot dead during sex assault investigation; suspect also shot, killed
Peaceful coastal town hit by spate of gun violence
Last Updated: 283 days ago
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Two Santa Cruz, Calif., police officers were shot and killed Tuesday while investigating a sexual assault, and a male suspect was also fatally shot, authorities said.
Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said Sgt. Loren Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler were shot and killed about 3:30 p.m. as they followed up on the sexual assault investigation.
A male suspect was shot and killed a short time later while authorities were pursuing the gunman, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said. The dead suspect was identified as 35-year-old Jeremy Goulet.
Vogel says Baker was a 28-year veteran of the department and Butler was a 10-year veteran of the department.
Vogel says Baker was married and the father of two daughters, while Butler leaves behind two young sons.
Residents on the adjoining streets where the shootings occurred received an automatic police call warning them to stay locked inside. About half an hour later, more than a dozen semi-automatic shots echoed down the streets in a brief shootout that killed the suspect.
Police were going door-to-door in the neighborhood, searching homes, garages, even closets, although the sheriff said authorities didn't know if another suspect remained at large.
Police, sheriff's deputies and FBI agents filled intersections, some with guns drawn, in what is ordinarily a quiet, residential neighborhood in the community about 60 miles south of San Francisco.
A store clerk a few buildings away from the shooting said the barrage of gunfire 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.
She said she remained locked in her store hours after the shooting and was still scared.
Two schools were locked down during the shooting. The students were later evacuated by bus to the County Government Center about half a mile away.
As darkness fell, helicopters and light aircraft patrolled above the neighborhood, which is about a mile from downtown Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The campus of University of California, Santa Cruz, is about five miles away.
The city's mayor, Hilary Bryant, said in a statement that the city was shocked over the shootings.
"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," the statement said. "This is an exceptionally shocking and sad day for Santa Cruz and our Police Department."
Santa Cruz has faced a recent spate of violence, and community leaders had scheduled a downtown rally Tuesday to speak out against shootings. The rally and a city council meeting were canceled after teary-eyed city leaders learned of the deaths.
Those shootings include the killing of Pauly Silva, a 32-year-old martial arts instructor who was shot outside a popular downtown bar and restaurant on Feb. 9.
Two days later, a UC Santa Cruz student waiting at a bus stop was shot in the head during a robbery. She is recovering from her injuries.
Then on Feb. 17, a 21-year-old woman was raped and beaten on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Four days later, a Santa Cruz couple fought off two men who came in their home before dawn and threatened them with a sword.
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