Two Officers Killed In Santa Cruz

 Two Officers Killed In Santa CruzTwo Officers Slain In Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Sheriff Wowak, on 2 slain officers: “There was no suspicion they’d be in danger; they were just doing their job”.  This from today’s news conference about Tuesday’s tragedy.

Two officers were sent to investigate a sexual assault complaint.  The veteran officers, one male and one female, were shot around 3:30 p.m. as they were approaching the suspect’s home.

The suspect disarmed the officers after shooting them and stole their patrol car.  An automatic telephone response was sent to neighbors advising them to stay in their homes.  Shots from automatic weapons could be heard down the street.  A short time later, in an exchange of gunfire, police shot and killed the suspect.

Police Chief Kevin Vogel said Sgt. Loren Butch Baker, a 28-year veteran, and Detective Elizabeth Butler, a 10-year veteran, were shot and died on the scene.

35-year-old Jeremy Goulet was arrested Friday when a co-worker in the Coffee Shop where he was employed filed a complaint that he made inappropriate sexual advances.  He was fired the next day.  When the officers went to Goulet’s residence, an altercation occurred.  The officers called for back-up but were shot to death before it arrived.

Goulet worked as a barista at a coffee shop in the Santa Cruz harbor. He was convicted in Portland, Ore., in May 2008 of peeping at a 22-year-old woman who was showering in her condominium and of carrying concealed weapon, according to a Portland newspaper, The Oregonian. He was put on probation but, after a dispute with his probation officer, was sentenced to two years in jail.

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.

An increase in violent crime and murder by gunshot has motivated community leaders to discuss the problem.  The rally and meetings were scheduled for Tuesday, and cancelled after the news of the killings.

Those shootings include the killing of a 32-year-old martial arts instructor who was shot outside a popular downtown bar and restaurant; the robbery of a UC Santa Cruz student who was shot in the head; a 21-year-old woman who was raped and beaten on the UC Santa Cruz campus; and a couple who fought off two men during a home invasion.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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