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Update on Police Shooting Investigation

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Law enforcement maintains that nothing could have been done to prevent police deaths in February 

Santa Cruz County and city officials gave an update Thursday morning, May 23, on the investigation of Jeremy Goulet, the man who murdered two Santa Cruz police officers on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The agencies maintained that the officers had followed protocol to a tee and that they could not have been prepared for what happened.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak and Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said that they do not expect to change policies or safety procedures based on findings in the investigation so far.

Wowak said the protocol officers Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler were adhering to has been in tact for a “number of years.”

The way they conducted the investigation was “completely thorough and very professional and I don’t see a need to make change there at all,” Wowak said. “They were completely unprepared for what had occurred and there was no reason for them to suspect that [Goulet] was going pull a weapon.”

Vogel took the podium after Wowak and emphasized that no variation in their procedure would have saved them.

“This was a regular, routine matter with a non-routine outcome,” he said.

The officers were following up on allegations of sexual assault against Goulet by a female co-worker from a coffee shop where they both worked. Wowak said the officers saw Goulet through a window near the entrance of his home when they contacted him, but then saw him move toward the rear of the residence, where they lost sight of him.

Goulet then reappeared and ambushed the officers with a .45 caliber weapon, leaving them no time to defend themselves.

“It is our belief that Goulet had disabled and mortally wounded them [the officers] within the first three seconds” after he reappeared, Wowak said.

In the gun fight that took place abut 20 minutes later on Doyle Street, around the corner from Goulet’s residence, Goulet fired nine rounds from his own weapon and one from Baker’s, which he had stolen along with the officer’s body armor, car, and Butler’s weapon. Though there were many onlookers, firefighter and police in his range of fire, those shots only struck vehicles.

Four officers returned fire, shooting approximately 15 rounds, most of which struck Goulet, killing him, Wowak says.

As the press conference finished, a reporter requested to know whether media would be given the opportunity to interview the officers involved in the shooting of Goulet. Sheriff Deputy April Skalland stepped aside, allowing Vogel to take the pulpit again. After a long moment, the chief announced, definitively, “No.”

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