The father of the man suspected of killing two Santa Cruz police detectives tearfully recalled on Wednesday his son’s troubled past, and emphasized that the 35-year-old’s alleged murders are inexcusable.
"Killing those cops was just unforgivable," Ronald Goulet told NBC4 in a lengthy interview that he refused to let be recorded. "There’s no way to justify it."
Goulet’s son, Jeremy, was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon following a deadly afternoon encounter with police near his home in Santa Cruz.
That altercation left Detective Elizabeth Butler – an LA native – and Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker dead. They are the first Santa Cruz police officers to be killed in the line of duty since the department was founded in the late 1880s.
Armed but in plain clothes, the detectives visited Goulet's home Tuesday during a "follow-up investigation," authorities said.
Mourners on Wednesday placed cards, candles and flowers near the site where the pair was gunned down, allegedly by Goulet, whose father said had a difficult background.
He choked up as he said: "My heart goes out to the families of those officers, but I’m grieving, too. We loved him."
In 2007, Goulet was arrested during a fight in Portland. The lacerations on his face, seen in a mug shot from the time, apparently came from a young woman’s boyfriend after Goulet was seen spying on her while she showered.
Goulet’s father said the resulting felony charges – of which Jeremy was eventually acquitted – enraged his son, souring him on the U.S. justice system.
From his childhood in the Kern County suburb of Rosamond, Jeremy Goulet had dreams of being a military pilot or even a police officer, his father told NBC4.
But the 35-year-old suspect’s scuffles with the law – including several misdemeanors and jail time resulting from his voyeuristic compulsions – derailed those plans.
When Butler and Baker visited Goulet on Tuesday, he was facing yet another claim of unwanted sexual advances, this time from a co-worker. He once told his father he "would never spend another day in jail."
Jeremy’s twin brother received a text message from the suspect Tuesday, after the two detectives had been killed. It read: "I’m in big trouble. I love you."
Fearing the worst, family members checked local news reports and knew instinctively what happened.