Two days after a pair of Santa Cruz police officers were gunned down in the line of duty, authorities revealed more about the suspect, whom they say killed the detectives 20 minutes into an interview about a sexual assault allegation, and that he had been arrested for rape in Hawaii almost five years ago.
At a Thursday news conference, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak revealed new details about how Jeremy Goulet, 35, killed Det. Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler about 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The officers were following up on a sexual assault allegation against Goulet in the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue. Goulet killed them at his home, and he was shot to death about an hour later on Doyle Street by three Santa Cruz police officers and one Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputy. Daffodils now adorn Goulet's doorstep where the officers were slain.
Among the new information that Wowak made public:
- The veteran officers arrived at Goulet's home about 3 p.m. They were there to hear "his side of the story," regarding a sexual allegation a former coffee shop employee had made against him. Goulet had been fired from the coffee shop last week based on those claims. About 20 minutes into the interview, Goulet ended up killing the officers with his own .45-caliber handgun. The officers, who were there to investigate a misdemeanor allegation, were not wearing any body armor and had no idea that Goulet was so angry and distraught. What they talked about "is lost with the officers," Wowak said. "They barely had any opportunity to turn and run."
- Goulet was the suspect of "multiple" sexual arrests. Wowak said he was arrested for rape in Hawaii in 2008. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Goulet had been in the Army, and was the subject of two court martials because of the rape allegations. His defense attorney at the time said that the military dropped the charges in exchange for his discharge.
- Goulet was also the current suspect in a case investigated by the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department for allegedly molesting a child. (It has already been revealed that Goulet was accused of peeping into a woman's window in Portland, Ore. And the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported he had pleaded guilty in August to a peeping case in Berkeley.)
- After conducting a search of Goulet's Branciforte Avenue home, authorities found a passport in Goulet's name and tickets to New Mexico for a flight next week.
"What his intentions were, what was happening in his life, is part of the puzzle," Wowak said.
Wowak also confirmed some information that he had discussed Wednesday, after corroborating it with witness accounts and evidence recovery. After shooting the officers, Goulet stole the police officers' guns and took Baker's bullet proof vest from the police vehicle that he had also stolen. He drove a few blocks to Doyle Street, guns ablazing. A stray bullet caught an innocent woman in the leg on Stanford Avenue. She was shaken up but not seriously injured, Wowak said. Other bullets struck a Santa Cruz fire truck and other parked cars along the way.
It was when Goulet left the stolen police car and was trying to run back to his home that he encountered a team of police and deputies who fired at him and killed him. Those officers have been put on paid administrative leave, as is routine.
The small Santa Cruz police department took Wednesday off to grieve, and they were supposed to return to work Thursday. But the anguish was too much. The sheriff and the California Highway Patrol are protecting the city until Friday, when the officers should return to their jobs.
"It's the second day and it's not any easier," Santa Cruz County Supervisor Zach Friend said at the conference. "A lot of tears have been shed in this community. It's going to take a long time for us to heal, to get back to normalcy, both emotionally and operationally. There is no playbook on what are the next steps."
The sheriff is asking any member of the public who may have video or photos of either the initial shooting of the officers or the shootout with the suspect to email: email@example.com or call 831-454-2311. A memorial has been scheduled for March 7 at 11 a.m. at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz.