Update: Two Slain Santa Cruz Police Officers Were Veteran Detectives

By: Brian Shields - Wed, 27 Feb 2013 02:14:10 -0800

SANTA CRUZ (KRON) -- The citizens of Santa Cruz are mourning the murders of two veteran police detectives who were shot and killed while conducting an investigation at a home on Branciforte Avenue Tuesday afternoon. The 35-year old alleged shooter, Jeremy Goulet, was also shot and killed minutes after the initial attack, investigators say.

"I cannot begin to express the shock and sadness we feel this evening," Santa Cruz Mayor Hillary Bryant said. "Two of our most beloved officers were killed in the line of duty and this has rocked the community to our absolute foundation."

The two slain officers are identified as Detective Sergeant Loran "Butch" Baker, a 28-year veteran of the department and 10-year veteran Detective Elizabeth Butler. Police Chief Kevin Vogel describes Baker as a longtime friend and mentor. Detective Baker leaves behind a wife, two daughters, and a son who works as a Community Services Officer for Santa Cruz police. Detective Butler is survived by her partner and two young sons, Vogel says.

"It was with deep, deep sadness that I stand before you this evening to talk about the death of my two officers today," Chief Vogel said. "We at the Santa Cruz police department are like family. I've known both of these officers for a long, long time and there just aren't words to describe how I feel personally about this and about how my department is reacting to this horrific, horrific tragedy."

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak's department will lead the investigation. He says it appears the two plain clothes detectives went to Goulet's home on Banciforte as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Based on physical evidence and witness accounts, Wowak says Goulet opened fire on the detectives. The two officers and witnesses called for help.

When authorities arrived on the scene they say they found the two detectives dead outside the home and Goulet missing. A multi-agency team then locked down the neighborhood which includes three schools and a busy Whole Foods supermarket.

Within minutes of setting up the search, Sheriff Wowak says officers encountered Goulet. A short chase ensued and then gunfire was exchanged, he says. Goulet was shot and killed at the scene.

Even after Goulet's death, officers continued a house by house, "closet-by-closet" search of the neighborhood to determine if there were additional suspects. Sheriff Wowak says it is his belief the public is now out of harm's way.

Students at the three schools were taken by bus to the nearby Government Center where they were re-united with their families.

Authorities are praising nearby law agencies including deputies from San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, and Monterey County sheriffs departments and police officers from Scott's Valley, Capitola, and Watsonville who just showed up on the scene to offer their help.

Wowak says the California Department of Justice, the FBI, and the regional law agencies will all assist in the investigation. He says it could be weeks before we know all of the details of what happened and why.

Stay tuned to KRON 4 and KRON4.com for comprehensive coverage of the investigation into the shootings and the community's mourning of the two slain officers.

(Copyright 2013, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)

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