SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Santa Cruz police Sgt. Loran Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler were shot and killed Tuesday outside a Santa Cruz man’s home, where they had gone to question him regarding a report that he made inappropriate sexual advances toward a co-worker at her home.
The father of the suspect, 35-year-old Jeremy Goulet, in the fatal shooting of two California police officers said Wednesday his son was a ticking time bomb who had contempt for police and the justice system.
Goulet, a coffee shop worker, had numerous run-ins with the law and swore he would never go back to jail, Ronald Goulet told The Associated Press.
He said he never thought his son would turn to such violence.
Goulet, who was fired from his job at Kind Grind coffee shop on Saturday, was killed a short time later in a shootout with police.
A manager at the coffee shop said no one would speak to the media at this point.
The shootout occurred about 60 miles south of San Francisco in the town with world-class surf spots, historic downtown with bookstores and coffee shops, and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Its boardwalk is a major summer draw for tourists hoping to escape inland heat or enjoy a classic California experience.
Lately, the city of 60,000 people had seen a spike in assaults that community leaders had planned to address Tuesday during a downtown rally that was cancelled along with a City Council meeting by teary-eyed leaders after they learned of the deaths.
“There aren’t words to describe this horrific tragedy,” said Police Chief Kevin Vogel.
The mid-afternoon shooting about a mile from the boardwalk prompted the lockdown of two schools and an automated police call to nearby residents, warning them to stay locked inside. The ordinarily quiet neighborhood echoed with a brief barrage of gunfire that killed the suspect about a half-hour after the officers were shot.
A store clerk a few buildings from the shooting said the shootout 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.
In May 2008, Goulet was convicted in Portland, Ore., of peeping on a 22-year-old woman who was showering in her condominium, and of carrying a concealed weapon, according to The Oregonian newspaper.
The elder Goulet said his son constantly undermined any success he had in the military or college due to an insatiable desire to peep in the windows of women showering or getting dressed.
“He’s got one problem, peeping in windows,” his father said in a halting emotional voice. “I asked him, ‘Why don’t you just go to a strip club?’ He said he wants a good girl that doesn’t know she’s being spied on, and said he couldn’t stop doing it.”
Jeffery Goulet, the suspect’s twin brother, released a statement Wednesday saying his family was deeply saddened by the events in Santa Cruz.
“We would also like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of Sgt. Loran Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler,” it said.
Desiree Salas-Murphy, whose husband owns Cole Coffee in Oakland, where Goulet worked for six or seven months last year, would not say why Goulet was let go in August, describing the firing only as work-related.
Goulet’s coworkers had noticed him becoming withdrawn and anxious, enough so that Salas-Murphy and her husband wanted to make sure the parting was as amicable as possible, she said.
“We did feel like he was becoming increasingly tense. He made people uncomfortable,” she said.
Baker, a 28-year veteran of the force, and Butler, a 10-year veteran, had been shot at and called for backup before arriving officers found Goulet, who was killed after opening fire on them, authorities said.
A concrete wall at the site was riddled with bullet holes and splattered with blood. The shots on the wall and a garage were marked with identifying letters placed by police that went from “A’’ to “K.”
Baker’s son, Adam Baker, served as a community service officer, and father and son had mailboxes side-by-side at the Police Department.
Loran Baker told the Santa Cruz Sentinel in 2010 that his son’s choice to pursue a career in law enforcement surprised him, but he saw glimpses of himself in Adam.
Loran Baker said he told his son to work hard for the department.
“It’s a great community to be a cop,” he said. “You don’t get bored.”
Butler came to Santa Cruz to study at the university and stayed, the newspaper said.
“You have to be a people person down here,” she told the newspaper in a 2005 interview. “I really do know people’s names.”
After the shootings, police went door-to-door in the neighborhood, searching homes, garages, even closets, to determine whether there might be additional suspects.
Law enforcement officers filled intersections, and helicopters and light aircraft patrolled the neighborhood.
Mayor Hilary Bryant said the community was “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 recent violence in Santa Cruz included the killing of a 32-year-old martial arts instructor who was shot outside a popular downtown bar and restaurant; the robbery of a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was shot in the head; a 21-year-old woman who was raped and beaten on the UC campus; and a couple who fought off two men during a home invasion.