It’s about 10:20 p.m. in the Sentinel newsroom, in a tragic day where events spun into a horror still difficult to fathom.
Two police officers were gunned down in the line of duty. It is the first time any Santa Cruz police officer has been killed on the job. As stark as that, the awfulness of the loss of the two officers is as sad as any local news we have had to report in my more than 25 years at the Sentinel.
The officers who died were Loran “Butch” Baker, a 28-year cop well known to Sentinel journalists who covered the city, and a fellow detective, Elizabeth Butler. Both leave behind families, friends and a grieving police department.
While more details will certainly be revealed in the days to come, our reporters have already uncovered disturbing information about the alleged killer, Jeremy Goulet, who also died today, in a shootout with police that terrified neighbors and onlookers in the Branciforte Avenue/Doyle Street area this afternoon.
In these days of the widespread use of social media, it didn’t take long to find information about the 35-year-old Goulet, ex military, an admitted sex offender, who had had previous brushes with the law and was known to own guns. Goulet’s previous listed address was in Berkeley, and an Internet search turned up that he had been arrested in 2007 in Portland, Ore. on a weapons charge after he was accused of being a peeping tom, then, when neighbors tried to detain him, allegedly pulled out a handgun. He was convicted in 2008 in Portland of sex and weapons charges associated with that arrest.
He was arrested again only Friday on disorderly conduct charges in Santa Cruz and a co-worker at Santa Cruz coffee shop where he had been employed for a short time until he was fired Saturday had filed a police report accusing him of breaking into her house and making inappropriate sexual advances. He bailed out of jail. Both Goulet and the co-worker lived on the street where today’s tragedy unfolded. The two detectives who died apparently had gone to the woman’s home on a subsequent complaint.
Our team of reporters and photographers, aided by our local news editors, will be continuing to report this story.
Among the questions we’ll be attempting to answer: what brought Jeremy Goulet here and into a fateful encounter with the two slain detectives? And after that, what more does this unspeakable tragedy say about what is happening in Santa Cruz County, beyond the shock and grief people are attempting to come terms with tonight?