The Santa Cruz community came out on Wednesday to mourn the loss of two fallen police officers, Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler. Jean Elle reports.
The small Santa Cruz police department was supposed to be at work on Thursday. But the grief was too deep and the pain too raw.
The 94 sworn officers of the beach side city are expected to return to work on Friday - three days after the city lost two of its beloved officers in an unprecedented gun battle Tuesday afternoon.
Det. Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler were both killed about 3:30 p.m. as they were following up on a sexual assault allegation against Jeremy Goulet in the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue. A man authorities now describe as "angry," and "distraught," Goulet ended up pulling out a gun and shooting the officers - they died on his doorstep. A manhunt ensued for Goulet, and he was killed by teams of police about an hour later on Doyle Street.
On Wednesday, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said that Goulet had disarmed the officers after he killed them, and stole Baker's car, hiding out in a neighborhood until police found him and killed him, too.
This is the first time in Santa Cruz's 150-year history that police officers have been killed in the line of duty.
In the meantime, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol are protecting the city.
The community is also in mourning. People are flocking to City Hall, churches and police stations, leaving candles, flowers and cards of appreciation. Schools are flying flags at half-staff. And on Wednesday night, there was a vigil for the officers so that community members could come together and express their condolences.