Santa Cruz killings: Gunman took officers’ weapons, police say
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A gunman took the weapons of two Santa Cruz police officers Tuesday after fatally shooting them, according to police.
At a news conference Wednesday, officials said the suspect, Jeremy Goulet took the officers’ weapons and drove away in one of their cars. He was later killed by police.
“There should be no suspicion or second-guessing on how they ended up where they were,” Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said. “They were just doing their job.”
Wowak said that after Goulet was fatally wounded, authorities found he was wearing body armor and carrying three handguns.
The officers, Elizabeth Butler and Loran ‘Butch’ Baker, were killed on the doorstep of Goulet’s Santa Cruz home, he said.
The shootings began about 3:30 p.m. when a man, believed to be Goulet, opened fire on the two officers, who were conducting a follow-up investigation at a home, authorities said.
Wowak said the officers were not in uniform and were attempting to obtain information from Goulet, who had been accused in a sexual assault case.
The officers had “no suspicion they would be in danger,” he said.
Butler was a 10-year Santa Cruz Police Department veteran, and Baker was a 28-year veteran, authorities said.
Goulet had come to Santa Cruz, a seaside community about 60 miles south of San Francisco, “just months ago,” Wowak said.
Wowak said details have emerged about Goulet through interviews with people who knew him.
He was characterized as being “angry,” “destructive in nature” and as being “unhappy in his life,” Wowak said. Acquaintances suspected he was “either suicidal or homicidal,” he said.
Goulet was arrested Friday on suspicion of disorderly conduct at the same location where the two officers were killed, according to the sheriff’s online records.
News accounts from the Oregonian newspaper in Portland state that in 2008, a Jeremy Peter Goulet was sentenced to three years probation and sex offender treatment after a conviction for peeping at a 22-year-old woman as she showered in her northwest Portland condo.
The Oregonian also reported that jurors convicted Goulet of carrying a gun without a concealed weapons permit.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, jurors cleared Goulet of an attempted murder charge after determining that his weapon went off accidentally during a fight with the woman’s boyfriend.
He later served two years in prison after a dispute with his probation officer, the Chronicle reported. He agreed to prison time rather than undergoing court-ordered sex offender treatment, according to the Chronicle.
On Tuesday night, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office had taken over patrol duties in the city and was leading the investigation into the shootings.
Santa Cruz is still reeling from the shootings. The city is best known for its surf spots, seaside amusement park and diverse community that includes a University of California campus.
But in recent weeks, a UC Santa Cruz student was shot in the head, another student was reportedly raped and a home-invasion robbery left residents on edge.
“This is a horrific day. We lost two exceptionally fine officers,” a visibly shaken Police Chief Kevin Vogel told reporters Tuesday night. “We need to figure out a way to bring our department together and get through this.”
-- Hailey Branson-Potts and Lee Romney in Santa Cruz