SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — Two California police detectives gunned down while investigating a sexual assault complaint were interviewing the suspect when he shot them by surprise, sheriff's officials said Thursday.
The suspect, 35-year-old Jeremy Goulet, had been interviewed for about 20 minutes when he surprised the detectives, Sgt. Loran Butch Baker and Elizabeth Butler, on Tuesday at his home and killed them with his own .45 caliber gun, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said at a news conference.
"The detectives had absolutely no chance to protect themselves or return fire," Wowak said.
He said the officers were not wearing body armor, although it would not have helped protect them. He did not elaborate.
Wowak also disclosed that an innocent bystander on the street was struck during the initial gunfire.
The quiet beach town of Santa Cruz was still reeling two days after the shooting. Mayor Hilary Bryant said a memorial fund had been set up for the officers' families.
"The loss is unimaginable," she said.
Goulet's father said his son fought losing battles to control his rage and a Peeping Tom obsession — destructive urges that led to his failure in the military and set him on a path toward the deadly final conflict.
Ronald Goulet, 64, said his son had a hatred for the justice system that had swelled since he graduated in 2000 with a degree in criminal justice from San Diego State University. This feeling was fueled by years of run-ins with police and prosecutors after accusations during his military tenure of sex-related crimes, the elder Goulet told The Associated Press.
"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 said in halting, emotional bursts during an interview Wednesday. "But I didn't think by any means he would do anything like this."
After the shooting, Goulet took the officers' guns and stole Baker's car, according to authorities. He was eventually cornered at a nearby apartment complex and killed after he opened fire first with two handguns during a battle with police and sheriff's deputies, Wowak said.
He was wearing Baker's body armor and had the two officers' guns as well as his passport and a ticket for a flight this week to New Mexico, the sheriff said.
Goulet and his twin brother, Jeffery Goulet, grew up near Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, where Ronald Goulet was stationed during his 26 years in the military. He said the twins both dealt with anger management issues after his divorce from their mother.
"The brothers used to argue and get in bad fist fights with each other," the father said. "Both of them had anger management issues, but (Jeremy's) brother matured and he didn't."
During college, Jeremy Goulet served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. His father said Jeremy was arrested then for peeping, a misdemeanor.
"He's got one problem: peeping in windows," said his father. "I asked him, 'Why don't you just go to a strip club?'"
After graduating from college, 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, Ore., to be with his twin brother, Jeffery, despite a strained relationship.
In May 2008, Jeremy Goulet went to trial on charges of peeping on a young woman in Portland as she took a shower in her condo, and for trying to kill her boyfriend.
Goulet was convicted of carrying a gun without a concealed weapon permit and invasion of personal privacy. After violating his probation, he was sentenced to two years in jail.
Goulet was in Santa Cruz County jail on Feb. 22 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.
News researcher Rhonda Shafner from New York and Associated Press writers Jeff Barnard in Grants Pass, Ore., Lisa Leff in Oakland, Calif., and Nigel Duara in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report. Dearen reported from San Francisco.