Dark day afternoon

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?

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3 Responses to Dark day afternoon

  1. It sucks. I’ve been through this with several LE departments, as a reporter, and it never gets easier. Other than the fallen detectives and their families, and the SCPD, my heart goes out to the newsroom employees – particularly public safety reporters who interface almost daily with cops. They will need your support.u00a0

  2. Sueraney says:

    I am a u00a0Santa Cruz native, born in the Branciforte Business Plaza in 1960 before it was turned into a business plaza from the local hospital u00a0(my name is on the wall in the plaza). u00a0I have never seen so much violence in Santa Cruz County through out my life here… u00a0I have now lived here for 53 years, and only now am seeing such a mass amount of violence. u00a0We must find a way to curb this violence! u00a0It’s not acceptable, and really is unbelievable to me (and most)! u00a0How can we all help to get it under control?

  3. Sue Raney says:

    I pledge all of my support to the Sentinel staff! u00a0I read the Sentinel daily and appreciate all of the staff’s efforts. u00a0Wish them the best in recovering from the loss of our two wonderful police officers today! u00a0 Best Wishes, Sue R.

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