Santa Cruz Police Shooting Suspect Had History of Trouble
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — There was no warning for the two police detectives killed on Jeremy Goulet's doorstep when he flung open his door and opened fire. But there was more than a decade of signs that indicated Goulet was, as his father said Wednesday, a "ticking time bomb."
The quiet beach town of Santa Cruz was reeling as teary-eyed law enforcement leaders struggled to explain how Goulet, 35, had managed to kill two detectives, Sgt. Loran Butch Baker and Elizabeth Butler.
The detectives were shot to death Tuesday soon after arriving at Goulet's home in plain clothes to question him about a misdemeanor sexual assault, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said.
Previous coverage on LawOfficer.com:
- California Detectives Killed During Questioning of Suspect
- Sheriff: California Officer Shooting Suspect Had Armor
The killings kicked off an intense half-hour chase by police that ended in a barrage of gunfire as Goulet, pinned against a garage door and a wall, tried to take even more lives.
"It's been devastating," Police Chief Kevin Vogel said Wednesday, ordering his remaining force of 92 sworn officers to step down for the day, allowing sheriffs and the highway patrol to take over the city's protection.
For those who knew Goulet, Tuesday marked the end of an escalating path of failed careers, violent relationships and criminal arrests of a disturbed former soldier consumed with irrational fury and sexual deviances.
"He had contempt for the cops and hated our justice system, and had been in jail before and swore he'd never go back," his father, Ronald Goulet, 64, said in halted, emotional bursts during an interview with The Associated Press.
Goulet's father said his son texted his twin brother Tuesday, saying, "I'm in big trouble, I love you," the father recalled.
"Jeff texted back and Jeremy wouldn't answer and next thing we know he was shot and killed," he said.
Wowak said that after shooting the detectives, Goulet stole their guns and jumped into Baker's car. But the neighborhood was boxed in by hundreds of quickly responding law enforcement officers, so, well-armed, he ditched the car and headed back toward his house, where emergency crews were desperately trying to save the two detectives.
A team of law enforcement officers spotted him and ordered him to give up. Instead he ran, and when cornered, opened fire. Goulet was killed in the shootout. On Wednesday, Goulet's blood remained splattered on a wall on a quiet residential street.
A fire truck was hit by several bullets, and firefighters took cover behind their vehicle, pulling bystanders down with them for safety.
"(Goulet) was distraught," the sheriff said. "No doubt the officers that engaged Goulet stopped an imminent threat to the community."
Goulet, who had served two years in prison in Oregon, was most recently in Santa Cruz County jail Friday on charges of public intoxication. Earlier that evening, a colleague at the coffee shop where he was working filed a complaint with police about inappropriate sexual advances. He was fired the next day, and the detectives had been following up.
Jeremy Goulet earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 2000. But his admiration for the law turned to hatred amid his constant urges to stare at unsuspecting women, his father said.
"He's got one problem: peeping in windows," said his father. "I asked him, 'Why don't you just go to a strip club?'"
During college, Jeremy Goulet served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. His father said Jeremy was arrested then for peeping, a misdemeanor.
After graduating from San Diego State University in 2000, he landed in the U.S. Army, where he trained as a helicopter pilot. He was moving forward in his career when he again stumbled into legal troubles in the Army and was discharged, his father said.
Goulet moved to Portland to be with his twin brother, Jeffery, despite a strained relationship.
In May 2008, he went to trial on charges of peeping on a young woman as she took a shower in her condo, and for trying to kill her boyfriend. The woman said that after showering she noticed the window screen was gone and a stick had been used to prop open the blinds.
Goulet was convicted of carrying a gun without a concealed weapon permit and invasion of personal privacy. After violating his probation, Goulet was sentenced to two years in jail.
After his release, Goulet moved to Berkeley, where until last fall, a neighbor said the twin brothers lived for at least a year in a brown-shingled house on a quiet street.
Alicia Morrison said she and her husband lived in the apartment just below the brothers and called the police in September when they got into a violent fight.
"I didn't think it was an everyday fight. It sounded like one of them was going to get killed," she said. "They would throw each other down on the ground and they had two dogs upstairs who sounded like they were really scared."
She said Jeremy left before the police arrived on that occasion.
She said neighbors had called police for the same reason before, and a few days after Morrison called the police she said they came by the apartment again because Jeremy Goulet's girlfriend had been screaming.
"Every time the police were called they acted like it was no big deal," she said.
Jeremy Goulet had recently moved to Santa Cruz and taken a job at a harbor cafe, attempting to start over, his father said.
About 75 miles south of San Francisco, Santa Cruz is known for its world-class surf spots, historic downtown with bookstores and coffee shops, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Its boardwalk is a major summer draw for tourists hoping to escape inland heat or enjoy a classic California experience.
Lately, the city of 60,000 people had seen a spike in assaults that community leaders had planned to address during a downtown rally.
Meanwhile, hundreds of grieving community members gathered for a vigil near the police department Wednesday evening.
The photos of Baker and Butler sat perched on a table surrounded by a cluster of flowers and candles that grew throughout the evening, while at other tables, people wrote notes to the officers' families, and children drew cartoon hearts and daisies on a banner in their honor.
Some who attended the vigil wore blue and black armbands in solidarity with the police officers attending.
Jeffery Goulet, the suspect's twin brother, released a statement Wednesday saying his family was deeply saddened.
"We would also like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of Sgt. Loran Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler," it said.
Baker was a 28-year veteran of the force whose son, Adam Baker, served as a community service officer. Butler, a 10-year veteran of the force, came to Santa Cruz to study at the university and stayed.
Associated Press writers John S. Marshall in San Francisco, Lisa Leff in Oakland, Calif., and Nigel Duara in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.