Beyond SFBay

Santa Cruz deputy killed in ambush attack, suspect in custody


One Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy was killed and another injured in what authorities are calling an ambush attack in the Santa Cruz mountain community of Ben Lomond Saturday afternoon.

Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, and another deputy responded to a citizen complaint regarding a gun and alleged bomb-making materials in a suspicious van seen at a turnout near Jamison Creek Road. After tracking the van to a nearby home, deputies were ambushed with gunfire and improvised explosives, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said in a Saturday night press conference.

Gutzwiller was shot and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Another officer, who has not been identified, was hospitalized after being struck by a car driven by the escaping suspect and is expected to survive.

Hart announced that the suspect, Steven Carrillo of Ben Lomond, was shot during his arrest by other officers and is in a local hospital. Carrillo will be arrested for murder, assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking and other felonies, Hart said.

Gutzwiller had been with the Santa Cruz sheriff’s office since 2006, Hart said. The married deputy and his wife had a young child with another on the way.

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