Missed Connections

I began seeing frantic tweets and Facebook posts about the shootings in Santa Cruz yesterday afternoon shortly after officers shot suspect Jeremy Goulet dead on Doyle Street, behind the Whole Foods Market.
Plain clothes detectives Butch Baker and Elizabeth Butler visited Goulet – a convicted sex offender – at his home to investigate a sexual assault. Goulet allegedly shot and killed both detectives.

Every police agency in Santa Cruz County immediately descended on the area armed to the teeth.  City police secured the area while CHP, county sheriff, and officers from Scotts Valley, Capitola, and Watsonville searched for Goulet.

The names of the deceased had not been released until late last night, but Santa Cruz is a small city.  Undoubtably, there would be a connection with me or somebody I know.

A while later, I went to catch my bus home.  It never showed.  The following bus 20 minutes later does not stop in my town. The driver told me and the two dozen other waiting passengers that our bus was cancelled at the last minute, but could offer no other information.

I was a little bit cranky at waiting a full 45 minutes for a bus to get home last night, but discovered later the reason my bus was cancelled – our driver Paul is now a widower.  His partner was Santa Cruz detective Elizabeth Butler.

When you ride the bus daily for seven years, you get to know the other passengers, the drivers, and even their families.  It’s a sad day for several interconnected groups in Santa Cruz.

To Santa Cruz police detective Elizabeth Butler, policing was like parenting, public relations


  1. Everyone is fighting a battle, but it can get hard to keep that in mind. Empathy is a scarce and valuable resource, and I get disappointed in myself when I fail to apply mine to others who deserve it. Good thoughts to those who have lost some portion of their battle.

  2. It’s interesting how small the world really is. My brother worked with both Butch and Elizabeth on a daily basis and was a close friend to Butch. I know from talking with him that the department is in shock and rather messed up emotionally. Police officers in Santa Cruz just don’t get killed. I think it’s even sadder because Butch was retiring this year.

  3. I am totally sad about both the officers deaths. I used in live in Santa Cruz and have met both officers at my work. They were really lovely people. I am so sad their life was taken away by such a scum of the earth. those poor young boys will not have their mom in their lives anymore. Butch lives in the same neighborhood as my parents and they would run into him and his wife on their walks.
    I live in LA now and living in the westside there isn’t rampant crimes and if there is, it doesn’t surprise me living in the big city but hearing this about my home town makes me really sad. I visit santa cruz often with my kids and husband and always felt it was my oasis but now it will never be the same.

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