Detective Elizabeth Butler and her colleague were killed in the line of duty Tuesday in a Santa Cruz gunfight, which also left the gunman dead, authorities said.
Butler grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Santa Cruz, according to a 2011 interview posted on the Santa Cruz Police Department’s website. She joined the force in 2003.
"Our department is in mourning," Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said at a news conference. "This is a horrific day in my career as the police chief and for our community and for our police department. We lost two exceptionally fine officers today."
Officials said Butler and Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker were plain-clothed and armed when they conducted a "follow-up investigation" at a home in the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue.
Butler's sister told NBC4 late Tuesday that the detective is survived by her longtime partner, Peter, and two sons -- ages 2 and 5.
Butler, who graduated from high school in Torrance, was a 10-year veteran of the Santa Cruz Police Department. Baker had been with the department for 28 years. Tuesday's deadly shooting was the first time in the city's history that officers were killed while on duty.
Details about why the pair was at the home were not immediately released. Authorities said an "altercation ensued" between the detectives and the suspected gunman, identified as Jeremy Goulet, 35.
The shot officers and neighbors who heard gunfire called 911, officials said. When officers arrived, they found Butler and Baker fatally wounded near the home where Goulet was a resident.
While scouring the area, officers found Goulet and a short chase ensued before gunfire broke out, ultimately killing the 35-year-old.
Authorities said they are not searching for anyone else related to the fatal shootings, but they did go door-to-door in the area as a precaution. At least three nearby schools were locked down during the investigation.
A resident, who declined to give his name, said he was in his home when he heard gunfire across the street around 3:30 p.m. Police arrived soon, he said. Awhile later, he heard a "multitude of gunfire" (video embedded below). He said police ordered residents to stay inside and not to leave.