Slain Santa Cruz Detective From South Bay Remembered as “Inquisitive”

One of "Beth" Butler's former high school teachers remembers the Santa Cruz detective as someone who was always asking questions.

The school day at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance began with a prayer on Wednesday.

The prayer was for a former student, Elizabeth Butler, who went on to become a detective at the Santa Cruz Police Department but whose life was cut short in a shootout with a suspect on Tuesday.

She was an alumnus who teacher Ron Jenkins said made the school proud.

“She was a good student," said Jenkins, who had Butler as a student. "She made the class better.

"We're going to miss her.”

Butler was 38. The 10-year police veteran was raised in Lomita. She leaves behind a partner and two sons, ages 2 and 5.

Also killed was 28-year Santa Cruz Sgt. Loren “Butch” Baker.

They were in plain clothes when they were gunned down around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday outside the suspected shooter's house.


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The suspect, identified as 35-year-old Santa Cruz resident Jeremy Goulet, was shot and killed by police about 30 minutes later.

Butler and Baker, who leaves behind a wife and three children, were the first officers to be killed in the line of duty in the history of the Santa Cruz Police Department.

At Bishop Butler was a member of the California Scholarship Foundation and the mountaineering club. She was also an athlete and a member of the volleyball and track and field teams.

She moved to Santa Cruz to attend UC Santa Cruz in 1992 and graduated as a community studies major.

She attended the Evergreen Police Academy, then joined the Santa Cruz Police Department, where she worked as a patrol officer and eventually became a detective, according to an interview with her posted on the department's website.

In the interview, Butler said she enjoyed living and working in Santa Cruz and derived satisfaction from serving its residents and making the city “a safe place to live and raise families.”

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