SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — There was no warning before Jeremy Goulet flung open his door and opened fire on two police detectives, killing them. But there was more than a decade of signs leading up to the shootings 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 killed police detectives Sergeant 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 sex accusation, Sheriff Phil Wowak said.
The killings led to a half-hour police search that ended in a barrage of gunfire that took the life of Goulet, a disturbed former soldier.
“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, said in halted, emotional bursts.
On Wednesday, Jeremy Goulet’s blood remained splattered on a wall on a quiet street.
Wowak said that after shooting the two detectives, Goulet took their guns and jumped into Baker’s car. But the neighborhood was boxed in by hundreds of quickly responding law enforcement officers, so he ditched the car and tried to run.
Wowak said Goulet was trying to dash back to the car when he shot at a team of police and deputies. Goulet was killed.
A fire truck was hit by bullets, and a firefighter pushed a bystander to the ground to prevent her from being struck.
“[Goulet] was distraught. He had intentions of potentially harming people and or the police,” the sheriff said. “No doubt the officers that engaged Goulet stopped an imminent threat to the community.”
His latest arrest, for being drunk in public, came Friday in Santa Cruz. That same evening, a colleague at the coffee shop where he was working filed a complaint with police for inappropriate sexual advances. He was fired the next day, and the detectives had been following up on that investigation.
Goulet’s father said his son texted his twin brother on 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.
Jeremy Goulet earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2000. But his admiration for the law turned to hatred amid his constant urge to peep on 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?’ He said he wants a good girl who doesn’t know she’s being spied on, and said he couldn’t stop doing it.”