2 police officers fatally shot during sex assault investigation in Calif.; 1 suspect killed

Associated Press

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Authorities have released the names of two Santa Cruz, California police officers who were shot and killed Tuesday.

Santa Cruz police Chief Kevin Vogel says Sgt. Loren Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler were shot and killed as they followed up on a sexual assault investigation Tuesday.

Vogel says Baker was a 28-year veteran of the department and Butler was a 10-year veteran of the department.

Vogel says Baker was married and the father of two daughters, while Butler leaves behind two young sons.

Police did not release the ages of the two officers.

The suspect who was also killed in the shooting was identified as 35-year-old Jeremy Goulet.

Residents on the adjoining streets where the shootings occurred received an automatic police call warning them to stay locked inside. About half an hour later, more than a dozen semi-automatic shots echoed down the streets in a brief shootout that killed the suspect.

Police were going door-to-door in the neighbourhood, searching homes, garages, even closets, although the sheriff said authorities didn't know if another suspect remained at large.

Police, sheriff's deputies and FBI agents filled intersections, some with guns drawn, in what is ordinarily a quiet, residential neighbourhood in the community about 60 miles south of San Francisco.

A store clerk a few buildings away from the shooting said the barrage of gunfire was "terrifying."

"We ducked. We have big desks so under the desks we went," said the clerk, who spoke on condition of anonymity and asked that her store not be identified because she feared for her safety.

She said she remained locked in her store hours after the shooting and was still scared.

Two schools were locked down during the shooting. The students were later evacuated by bus to the County Government Center about half a mile away.

As darkness fell, helicopters and light aircraft patrolled above the neighbourhood, which is about a mile from downtown Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The campus of University of California, Santa Cruz, is about five miles away.

The city's mayor, Hilary Bryant, said in a statement that the city was shocked over the shootings.

"Tonight we are heartbroken at the loss of two of our finest police officers who were killed in the line of duty, protecting the community we love," the statement said. "This is an exceptionally shocking and sad day for Santa Cruz and our Police Department."

Santa Cruz has faced a recent spate of violence, and community leaders had scheduled a downtown rally Tuesday to speak out against shootings. That and a city council meeting were cancelled after teary-eyed city leaders learned of the deaths.

Those shootings include the killing of Pauly Silva, a 32-year-old martial arts instructor who was shot outside a popular downtown bar and restaurant on Feb. 9.

Two days later, a UC Santa Cruz student waiting at a bus stop was shot in the head during a robbery. She is recovering from her injuries.

Then on Feb. 17, a 21-year-old woman was raped and beaten on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Four days later, a Santa Cruz couple fought off two men who came in their home before dawn and threatened them with a sword.

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Associated Press writer John S. Marshall in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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