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Slain police officers mourned in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is in mourning today following the tragic death of two Santa Cruz police officers late Tuesday afternoon.

The officers, identified by Police Chief Kevin Vogel as Detective Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler, were found dead outside 801 N. Branciforte Ave. around 3:30 p.m. They were shot and killed by Jeremy Peter Goulet, 35, who was found dead one street over.

In May 2008, Goulet was arrested and convicted  in Portland, Ore. for spying on a 22-year-old co-worker in the shower at her home. In an ensuing confrontation with the victim’s boyfriend, Goulet fired a handgun that he was carrying without a permit. Carrying a concealed weapon was added to his convictions.

Goulet was originally placed on probation, but was later sentenced to two years in jail after a dispute with his probation officer.

Officers first visited Goulet’s home late last week to arrest him for being drunk and disorderly, according to the Chronicle.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel also reported that Goulet allegedly broke into a co-workers house on Friday and made inappropriate sexual advances toward her. Goulet was booked and held for about seven hours before posting $250 bail on Friday. On Saturday he was fired from the coffee shop where he worked.

On Tuesday afternoon, Baker, a 28-year veteran of force, husband and father of three and Butler, a 10-year veteran, wife and mother of two young sons went to N. Branciforte Ave. to follow up on the case. After being shot at, they called for backup.

About half an hour later, Goulet was shot and killed on Doyle Street after firing at officers who were conducting a search of the area.

As a precaution, three local schools were put on lockdown and residents in the area were sequestered in their houses for more than five hours on Tuesday. After going door-to-door, searching homes and patrolling the area via helicopters and light aircraft, authorities do not believe there are additional suspects.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that the FBI and Department of Justice arrived to join the investigation just after 4 p.m. as well as officials from the Sheriff’s Office, Capitola, Watsonville and Scotts Valley police departments and the California Highway Patrol.

Flags in the city are being set at half mast and flowers are accumulating in from of the Santa Cruz Police Department. Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel told the press:

“There aren’t words to describe this horrific tragedy. This is the darkest day in the history of the Santa Cruz police department.”

The shooting follows multiple incidents of violence in Santa Cruz this month, including a rape on the University of California Santa Cruz campus, a man killed in a downtown Santa Cruz shooting and a UCSC student shot in the head during an attempted robbery.

And ironically, Tuesday’s shootings took place right before a scheduled rally against gun violence, only a mile away from Goulet’s home. The rally was cancelled after organizers learned of Baker and Butler’s deaths.

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