The gunman who killed two plainclothes Santa Cruz police
detectives Tuesday grabbed their guns and took their car, launching a chase
that forced three school lockdowns and a fatal shootout near a busy grocery
store parking lot, authorities said Wednesday.
Jeremy Peter Goulet, 35, a trained military police officer, was a ticking time bomb, his father said. He wore body armor Tuesday and possessed three guns, using two to fire at firefighters and bystanders. Having been to jail for sex and weapons charges, he had sworn he would never go back, Goulet's father said.
People who knew Goulet said he was "despondent, distraught and destructive in nature" based on recent personal events, according to Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak, whose agency is investigating the case.
"There's no doubt in anybody's mind that those officers stopped an imminent threat to the community and neutralized it," Wowak said.
Wednesday, for the first time in the Santa Cruz Police Department's 150-year history, officers were not patrolling the streets, instead taking the time to grieve. Sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol took on their duties.
"Our community is safe. We have as many officers covering today as yesterday," Vogel said.
During a somber news conference outside the Santa Cruz Police Department, which was shrouded in flowers, law enforcement leaders wore black bands on their badges to honor detective Sgt.
Loran "Butch" Baker, 51, and detective Elizabeth Butler, 38 -- the first Santa Cruz officers ever killed in the line of duty.
"It's been devastating. We've never experienced anything like this," said Vogel, who paused several times as he spoke of his former partner, mentor and friend. "Butch was my most skilled investigator."
Butler, a mother of two young boys, had a knack for investigating sexual assaults, Vogel said.
A Distraught Suspect
That was what brought the two seasoned officers to Goulet's North Branciforte Avenue home Tuesday afternoon.
Goulet, a barista who recently moved to Santa Cruz, was accused of breaking into a female co-worker's home just a few doors away Friday night and again on Tuesday.
Goulet's home was just doors away from hundreds of children at Midtown Montessori preschool and the nearby Branciforte Small Schools campus.
Officers knew of his history of sex and weapons charges, but they didn't know he was "distraught with intentions of potentially harming people," Wowak said.
Goulet shot both detectives on the doorstep of his home about 3 p.m., according to Wowak.
It was unclear Wednesday if the detectives contacted Goulet first, or if Baker or Butler wore bulletproof vests.
"I've known (Butch) for 28 years and he's done this thousands of times," Wowak said. "There should be no suspicion or second guessing as to how they wound up where they were."
After the shooting, Goulet took the officers' guns and drove Baker's unmarked car about a block down the street and parked, Wowak said. By that time, law enforcement from around the county were descending on the area responding to a 911 call of an officer down.
A Neighborhood on Lockdown
At least two law enforcement teams saw Goulet in the tense minutes that
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