SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Santa Cruz police detectives spoke briefly with Jeremy Peter Goulet through his front door before he disappeared for a moment and emerged from another door with a handgun.
"We now know that the detectives had absolutely no chance to protect themselves or return fire," Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said Thursday at a press conference where he again was flanked by the top brass from every law enforcement agency in the county.
"They barely had the opportunity to turn and run," Wowak said of detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler.
Goulet, armed with a plane ticket, passport and two handguns, was under investigation for a break-in and alleged sexual assault of a former co-worker. He's also being investigated by the Sheriff's Office in connection with a sexual assault of a child, adding to an already lengthy list of sex and violence-related arrests stemming back more than a decade -- not all of which the Santa Cruz detectives were aware of at the time.
The plainclothes detectives who were there to get Goulet's "side of the story," Wowak said.
"They were in the process of interviewing Goulet and had spent some time with him," Wowak said. "During that interview, Goulet suddenly surprised the officers ... and shot and killed them within seconds."
Using a .45-caliber Sig Sauer handgun, one of three registered to him, Goulet shot them on the doorstep of his home, which is tucked behind a preschool that had dozens of children inside. Detectives haven't said how many shots Goulet fired, but one of them struck a woman on nearby Stanford Avenue, grazing her in the leg. She was shaken but not seriously injured.
Baker and Butler were not wearing body armor, Wowak said, pausing to hold back tears, he added, "Body armor would not have helped the officers."
He declined to elaborate where they were shot or how many times, out of respect for their families.
Goulet stole the detectives guns and car keys and donned Baker's bulletproof vest found inside the car.
At some point in the 30-minute showdown, Goulet texted his twin brother Jeffrey, "I'm in big trouble. I love you."
Minutes after the first shooting, Goulet was dead after a shootout with authorities about a block away on Doyle Street. Wowak said they believe Goulet was trying to return to his home when a team of six officers and deputies encountered him on Doyle.
Using two guns, one of them Baker's, Goulet fired multiple times on the officers, hitting several vehicles including a Santa Cruz fire truck, but injuring no one. Four of the six officers returned fire, killing Goulet.
Those officers, three from the Santa Cruz Police Department and one from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, are now on routine paid administrative leave.
Goulet had his passport and a plane ticket to New Mexico departing this week in his pocket when he died, Wowak said.
Wowak said the detectives had "limited" information on Goulet's violent criminal history, which includes an arrest for an alleged rape in Hawaii, a gun conviction in Oregon and a dishonorable discharge from the military. The investigation had just begun.
"Sgt. Baker's done this thousands of times," Wowak said. "There was no information in their possession to our knowledge that could have prevented this."
The new details come two days after the police officers' deaths, which are the first in Santa Cruz police history. A memorial service for Baker and Butler is planned for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz.
Wowak said the officers left behind no case notes and hadn't talked to supervisors much about the case, leaving investigators with little information about the level of detail the officers had on Goulet's troubled past.
"Information about what they were investigating has been lost with their lives," Wowak said. "They had no information that led them to believe that they were in danger, or that Goulet at that time was a danger to them."