Public viewing held for fallen officers in Santa Cruz

March 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A public viewing took place Wednesday for Det. Sgt. Butch Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler, the two officers killed last week in Santa Cruz.

Doors to the memorial opened around 3 p.m. and a steady stream of people began filing in. Some people, wanting to show their respects, began lining up as early as 2:45 p.m. Inside were two flag-draped coffins with photographs of the officers set up alongside. Members of the public got the opportunity to have a quiet moment with the two police heroes, to pray if they wish, and to mingle with others who knew them.

Many members of the community expressed the desire to pay their respects in Santa Cruz because they are unable to attend the memorial service scheduled for noon Thursday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Wednesday's viewing was scheduled to continue until 8 p.m.

"This is the first time here that our local officers have been gunned down and it's a terrible thing. They talk about all these gun laws and everything, but if a guy wants a gun, he's going to get one someplace," retired Santa Cruz police officer Matt Gorman said.

"To them, it was just another day at the office, but we have to realize what their office was like, in our community. Just heartfelt thanks and such sorrow for their family, and I'm grateful that the community and we're able to show this outpouring of support," said Santa Cruz resident Linda McPherson.

New details also surfaced Wednesday about the man who shot and killed the officers on February 26. Deputies say Jeremy Goulet had lost his coffee shop job, sold his motorcycle, and told his housemates he was moving out. Police say Baker and Butler were at Goulet's house to investigate a groping case when he opened fire on them.

The crowd for the service at HP Pavilion could be as large as 18,000 and thousands of others may line the streets as a motorcade procession makes its way over the hills to San Jose. Police officers and other public safety officials will be visiting from all over the country. The procession will begin at 8:45 a.m. at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It will head north on Highway 17, then travel southbound on Highway 85, then north on Highway 87 to HP Pavilion in San Jose.

Caltrain is offering free service to the memorial for all members of law enforcement and the city of Santa Cruz is offering free Metro bus vouchers for those with no other way to the service.

A video feed of the service will be available in Santa Cruz at Kaiser Permanente Arena and the Del Mar Theater. A special performance will be given by Santa Cruz native James Durban, who was a finalist on the TV show "American Idol."

A Butch Baker and Elizabeth Butler Scholarship Fund has been established. Donations can be made through the Santa Cruz city website.

ABC7 News will begin live coverage of the service Wednesday at 11 a.m. both on-air and online. Click here for more information on the day's events.


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